Impact of a Simulation on Heart Failure Readmissions

A Comparative Effectiveness Study: Comparing a Simulation-Based Online Training, Traditional Online Course, and a Combined Course on Health Care Professional’s Knowledge Regarding Preventing Rehospitalizations

Objective

Compare the effectiveness of a simulation-based online training, a traditional online course, and a course combining both simulation and traditional course on knowledge of preventing rehospitalizations. 

Background

Research suggests that interactive simulation-based learning may be more effective than traditional online teaching methods. Benefits of computer generated simulations include increasing motivation and engagement in learners, allowing the practice of conditions difficult to construct in real life, and they can be tailored to the individual learner experience by repetition as necessary (Mantovani, et al, 2003). Initial research has shown that these types of computer simulations are effective (Albright, Goldman, and Shockley, 2013, Albright & Adam, 2016). However, other research suggests that a blended learning approach combining traditional online teaching methods with interactive simulations may be the most effective. A study of undergraduate students taking a management course showed that those students who took an online learning course combined with a computer simulation, improved their management skills more than those who took the online class alone (Levy & Ramim, 2015). The current study will explore whether there are statistically significant differences between a control gropu who doesn’t complete any training, an online training class alone, a simulation-based online training alone, and a combination of the two types of training on knowledge of preventing rehospitalizations.

Methods

A pre-post design will be used with randomization to one of four treatment conditions. Health care professionals will complete a pre-test where they answer knowledge and scenario-based questions related to rehospitalizations. After the pretest, participants will be randomly assigned to one of the four treatment conditions. Those randomized to the control group not complete any training. Those randomized to the simulation will complete a simulation-based training involving interactive care of a simulated heart failure patient admitted to the hospital with the goal of preventing a readmission. Those randomized to the traditional online course will complete a traditional e-learning course designed to improve knowledge of risks and prevention of hospital readmissions. Those randomized to the combined course will complete both courses. Immediately following training all participants will complete the post-test assessment measuring knowledge acquired during training. After post-test those randomized to the control group will have access to the training program of their choice. Study results will be analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance to determine the change in the dependent variable between pre and post-test.