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WVU innovation allows patient simulation program to continue through COVID-19

view of computer screen, woman sitting on couch, four people in frames on the side

WVU medical students are able to "see" patients during simulated training remotely thanks to the innovation of the Interprofessional Education program and the Simulation Training for Education and Patient Safety Center, which uses an on-site robot. (WVU Photo)

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After COVID-19 stopped in-person simulated training for West Virginia University medical students, leaders of the Interprofessional Education program and the Simulation Training for Education and Patient Safety Center got creative, using a remote-controlled robot to interact with patients in their homes.

“Having the robot is really a huge advantage,” Dr.Gina Baugh, a clinical professor in the School of Pharmacy, said. “It enables the students to do the simulation safely, and provides the connectivity needed for it.” 

WVU’s Interprofessional Education InterDisciplinary Education Apartment Simulation project provides pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, public health, nursing and medical students the ability to use their training in a simulated environment.

The overall intent of the activity is to foster interprofessional teamwork, communication skills and to promote compassionate care. The experience also gives students a look into a mock patient’s home environment and how they live their daily lives.

Since the robot was introduced, multiple IPE simulations have taken place. The students involved say they loved the experience. Morgan Adams, who is a physical therapy student, was involved in the first simulation with the robot.

“Using the robot was a great experience that allowed valuable patient assessment,” Adams said. “Given the circumstances, it was a great resource that got us as close to interpersonal patient care that we can.”

The simulation allows students to connect to the event from WVU’s regional campuses in Keyser and Beckley and even allows students to see patients who are not in Morgantown.

“We’re really looking into the future with this device,” Baugh said. “Though there is a personal side that is lost, it is still very beneficial to see a device being used that can connect people in the health care world to those who wouldn’t have the resources to be met in person.”

IPE simulation events will be held every two weeks.



CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Senior Communications Specialist
WVU Health Sciences

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