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A pilot study to assess the utility of a freely downloadable mobile application simulator for undergraduate clinical skills training: a single-blinded, randomised controlled trial

Bartlett, RD; Radenkovic, D; Mitrasinovic, S; Cole, A; Pavkovic, I; Denn, PCP; Hussain, M; ... Smith, D; + view all (2017) A pilot study to assess the utility of a freely downloadable mobile application simulator for undergraduate clinical skills training: a single-blinded, randomised controlled trial. BMC Medical Education BMC series , 17 (1) , Article 247. 10.1186/s12909-017-1085-y. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Medical simulators offer an invaluable educational resource for medical trainees. However, owing to cost and portability restrictions, they have traditionally been limited to simulation centres. With the advent of sophisticated mobile technology, simulators have become cheaper and more accessible. Touch Surgery is one such freely downloadable mobile application simulator (MAS) used by over one million healthcare professionals worldwide. Nevertheless, to date, it has never been formally validated as an adjunct in undergraduate medical education. METHODS: Medical students in the final 3 years of their programme were recruited and randomised to one of three revision interventions: 1) no formal revision resources, 2) traditional revision resources, or 3) MAS. Students completed pre-test questionnaires and were then assessed on their ability to complete an undisclosed male urinary catheterisation scenario. Following a one-hour quarantined revision period, all students repeated the scenario. Both attempts were scored by allocation-blinded examiners against an objective 46-point mark scheme. RESULTS: A total of 27 medical students were randomised (n = 9 per group). Mean scores improved between baseline and post-revision attempts by 8.7% (p = 0.003), 19.8% (p = 0.0001), and 15.9% (p = 0.001) for no resources, traditional resources, and MAS, respectively. However, when comparing mean score improvements between groups there were no significant differences. CONCLUSIONS: Mobile simulators offer an unconventional, yet potentially useful adjunct to enhance undergraduate clinical skills education. Our results indicate that MAS's perform comparably to current gold-standard revision resources; however, they may confer significant advantages in terms of cost-effectiveness and practice flexibility. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Not applicable.

Type: Article
Title: A pilot study to assess the utility of a freely downloadable mobile application simulator for undergraduate clinical skills training: a single-blinded, randomised controlled trial
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-017-1085-y
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-017-1085-y
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated
Keywords: Catheterization, Clinical skills training, Medical assessment, Medical education, Medical students, Mobile application simulator, Objective structured clinical examination, Simulation, Touch surgery, Virtual reality
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040229
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