Decision Simulation LLC, the leading provider of web-based, branched narrative virtual patient platforms, announced today that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has selected DecisionSim™ as the virtual patient platform for SimLEARN (Simulation, Learning, Education and Research Network). SimLEARN is a national program furthering the advancement of simulation training and education.

As a valuable resource to VHA healthcare educators and providers, SimLEARN provides training through operational strategies and simulation technology in order to meet specific training goals, including those of several national clinical plans.

SimLEARN will leverage DecisionSim so that VHA providers can review and practice systems-based protocols while applying clinical reasoning skills to each situation. These efforts will help providers improve their performance in clinical settings and lead to better patient care. This initial pilot will enable 43,000 VHA employees throughout the U.S. to utilize DecisionSim during the next year. The total contract award is approximately $1 million.

In addition to utilizing the virtual patient authoring and learning platform, DecisionSim will fully integrate with the VHA’s talent management system (TMS), facilitating a seamless environment for learners. This integration will also provide case completion data for each learner to the TMS for reporting, review and analysis.

“SimLEARN is the first full-scale, mainstream use of virtual patients, and the VHA’s selection of Decision Simulation for this important initiative speaks to the strength of our platform,” said James B. McGee, MD, chair of scientific advisory board at Decision Simulation.

With a branched narrative teaching approach, users of DecisionSim explore different decision paths and observe the consequences of their decisions while engaging in deliberate practice in a safe learning environment. This type of learning provides users with immediate feedback on their choices, enabling them to hone their clinical reasoning skills. Authors of the cases that are deployed on the platform also gain access to data reports tracking the learner’s decisions and measuring their progress. As a result, educators can measure current practice behavior, identify knowledge or skill gaps and assess the quality of educational programs.

“It is an honor to work with VHA, helping them to further employee learning and education, with the goal of improved patient outcomes,” said Bob Yayac, president of Decision Simulation. “Our approach to virtual patients as an effective educational simulation will become an important pillar of the SimLEARN initiative. As quality care and patient safety are top of mind for the healthcare space, the branched narrative approach to virtual patient learning provides the best method for enhancing clinical decision-making skills.” Decision Simulation teamed with Catapult Technology, Ltd., an award-winning, customeroriented, provider of full-service management consulting and information technology (IT) solutions. Catapult brings to this project its program management expertise, as well as past performance with the VHA.

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