Mount Sinai’s Simulation Lab Proves Effective in Training Anesthesiologists Reentering Practice

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Results of a study on 10 years of experience retraining anesthesiologists in a simulation program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai reveal that 70 percent of participants returned to active practice within one year of completing the program.

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Results of a study on 10 years of experience retraining anesthesiologists in a simulation program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai reveal that 70 percent of participants returned to active practice within one year of completing the program. The study’s findings are available online and will appear in the July print edition of the journal Anesthesiology.

The study is an analysis of the simulation program used to retrain and assess anesthesiologists’ skills over decade, between 2002 and 2012. A pioneer in simulation, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s Simulation Lab was one of the first of its kind, launched in 1994 under Adam I. Levine, MD, the study’s senior author. Dr. Levine is also Professor of Anesthesiology, Otolaryngology, Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai, and Director of the American Society of Anesthesiologists Endorsed Program, the Mount Sinai Human Emulation, Education, and Evaluation Lab for Patient Safety and Professional Study (HELPS).

“We had 20 anesthesiologists referred to our program during the study period,” said Dr. Levine. Fourteen anesthesiologists returned to active practice within one year of completing the program.

“Reentry programs for anesthesiologists are urgently needed and are of great interest to the American Society of Anesthesiologists and The American Board of Anesthesiology,” said Dr. Levine. “Strengths of our program are that it permits evaluation of core competencies, yet is adaptable enough to permit a focused evaluation and reeducation for the individual physician.”

Mount Sinai’s Department of Anesthesiology’s simulation lab uses full-scale patient mannequins with palpable pulses, breath and heart sounds that can physiologically respond to a variety of intravenous and inhaled anesthetic drugs through the interaction of sophisticated sensors and robust cardiovascular and pulmonary computer-driven modeling. The simulation lab is used to teach the management of complex perioperative medical events and emergencies, including difficult airway management, recognition and management of ischemia and cardiac arrest, and other rare and critical pulmonary and cardiovascular events.

“We see this as one day being an adjunct, or even replacement, to the current oral and written anesthesiology board structure,” said the study’s lead author, Samuel DeMaria, Jr., MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai. What differentiates the program from oral and written assessments is it allows participants to show what they would do during a crisis, not just say what they would do, and all without putting actual patients at risk.

Other study coauthors from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai include Stefan T. Samuelson, MD, Fellow, Simulation Center, Andrew D. Schwartz, MD, Instructor of Anesthesiology, and Alan J. Sim, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology.

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