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Teaching Emergency Medical Services Management Skills Using a Computer Simulation Exercise

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Teaching Emergency Medical Services Management Skills Using a Computer Simulation Exercise

Introduction: Simulation exercises have long been used to teach management skills in business schools. However, this pedagogical approach has not been reported in emergency medical services (EMS) management education. We sought to develop, deploy, and evaluate a computerized simulation exercise for teaching EMS management skills. Methods: Using…

Introduction: Simulation exercises have long been used to teach management skills in business schools. However, this pedagogical approach has not been reported in emergency medical services (EMS) management education. We sought to develop, deploy, and evaluate a computerized simulation exercise for teaching EMS management skills. Methods: Using historical data, a computer simulation model of a regional EMS system was developed. After validation, the simulation was used in an EMS management course. Using historical operational and financial data of the EMS system under study, students designed an EMS system and prepared a budget based on their design. The design of each group was entered into the model that simulated the performance of the EMS system. Students were evaluated on operational and financial performance of their system design and budget accuracy and then surveyed about their experiences with the exercise. Results: The model accurately simulated the performance of the real-world EMS system on which it was based. The exercise helped students identify operational inefficiencies in their system designs and highlighted budget inaccuracies. Most students rated the exercise as moderately or very realistic in ambulance deployment scheduling, budgeting, personnel cost calculations, demand forecasting, system design, and revenue projections. All students indicated the exercise was helpful in gaining a top management perspective, and 89% stated the exercise was helpful in bridging the gap between theory and reality. Conclusion: Preliminary experience with a computer simulator to teach EMS management skills was well received by students in a baccalaureate paramedic program and seems to be a valuable teaching tool.

Read more: http://journals.lww.com/simulationinhealthcare/Fulltext/2011/02000/Teaching_Emergency_Medical_Services_Management.7.aspx

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