Simulating High-stress ICU Scenarios for Medical Errors Study

P.S. Windyga and D.M. Wink (USA)


Medical errors, stress, RN, ICU.


Although not a recent or localized problem, the reduction of medicals errors (MEs) has become a major concern of the healthcare industry and a priority for government heath policymakers. MEs are diverse, and can be a result of single or multiple factors. MEs are more frequent in high stress care settings, such as intensive care units (ICUs), due to the effects that stress has on human performance. Registered nurses (RNs) are at highest risk of committing MEs due to their working conditions and the limited length of time they expend with each patient. Retrospective studies on MEs have been reported providing assessment of the magnitude of the problem. The reduction of MEs requires flexible experimental tools without the risk of harming patients. We report an ongoing work toward the understanding of the nature of MEs committed by RNs in the ICU due to stress. It is based on modeling error-prone scenarios by means of Petri nets, the use of human patient simulators and the running of exercises for data collection using wearable computers. This methodology can be used for several purposes including training, protocol design and performance assessment. The progress made toward a first implementation of this methodology is presented.

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