SiMCare Diabetes and the American Academy of Physician Assistants Announce Launch of Simulated Training Program

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New Web-Based Training Provides Continuing Education for PAs in Diabetes Care

Diabetes affects 25 million people in the United States, and more than 79 million Americans have prediabetes. Epidemic numbers of patients are entering the U.S. healthcare system, and the shortage of diabetes specialists is a growing concern.

The more than 95,000 physician assistants (PAs) in practice today can provide clinical care for diabetes patients. SiMCare Diabetes is now available through the American Academy of Physician Assistants’ (AAPA) Learning Central platform to address continuing education and certification of PAs in diabetes care.

SiMCare Diabetes was developed by SiMCare Health, a partnership with the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, a recognized leader in diabetes research and care delivery, and Vital Simulations, a developer of virtual immersive learning simulations for healthcare professionals.

“There is a glaring need for a champion in diabetes care, and our patients need knowledgeable and trained PAs on the front lines of this epidemic,” said AAPA President Lawrence Herman, PA-C, MPA, DFAAPA. PAs bring significant primary care knowledge to any specialty or setting because of the extensive medical education they receive first as primary care providers and, for some, specialty care providers. “Regardless of the specialty a PA may practice in, PAs are treating patients with diabetes. This resource can help PAs enhance their knowledge of diabetes and become the go-to person that patients want to see and the practice refers to.”

SiMCare Diabetes combines Web-based virtual patient cases and best practice guidelines with interactive decision-making. It uses a “flight simulator” approach to training: Healthcare professionals receive immediate feedback on medication management, insulin dosages, lab work, diagnostics, lifestyle recommendations and specialist referrals that helps them achieve patient care goals.

Results in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology showed that users rated SiMCare highly. The study noted that SiMCare results in significant improvements in knowledge retention and application in clinical practice.

“SiMCare provides a safe virtual environment for simulating diabetes patient management, so healthcare providers can improve their clinical confidence in achieving care goals using evidence-based best practices,” said Jim “Woody” Woodburn, MD, MS, board member of VitalSims, LLC, and past chief medical officer of MinuteClinic.

PAs practice medicine in every medical setting and specialty. They perform physical examinations, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, order and interpret lab tests, prescribe medications, provide preventive care, treat patients with chronic conditions, perform procedures, assist in surgery, provide patient education and counseling and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes.

PAs are increasingly hired by primary care practices to increase access to care when time and resources are limited. PAs allow for more frequent visits, offer timely help and give multidimensional treatment and advice. Educated in a collaborative approach to healthcare, PAs are champions of care coordination and play a leading role in directing treatment and management processes.

AAPA research shows that PAs play a significant role in diabetes management, and diabetes is the sixth most common disease PAs encounter weekly. In addition, 64 percent of PAs see an average of 17 patients with diabetes and write 15 prescriptions each week. In certain settings and practices, PAs provide counseling on lifestyle modification and educate patients on treatment options.

SiMCare was developed to give PAs an opportunity to become leaders in diabetes prevention and care.

AAPA gives PAs the resources to become expert care providers in diabetes and keep patients on track with their treatment. Armed with resources like SiMCare, PAs can become the go-to providers on diabetes and elevate their value to their practices and patients. AAPA is committed to supporting advanced PA training and certification with a patient-centered, team-based approach designed to enhance use of PAs in diabetes care.

About SiMCare Health

SiMCare Health is a simulated learning, professional education platform for chronic disease management that is becoming a premier resource for integrated patient-centered clinical care in diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases. SiMCare Health uses a proprietary platform of composite patient medical records to simulate real-world patient care with “flight simulator” decision feedback for improving clinical effectiveness and efficiency. Located in Minneapolis, Minn., SiMCare Health was co-developed by Vital Simulations and HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, a leader in diabetes education and research and one of the largest nonprofit integrated care-delivery networks in the United States. SiMCare Diabetes is Continuing Medical Education accredited and is used by leading healthcare organizations for integrated care team education.

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About the American Academy of Physician Assistants

Founded in 1968, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) is the national professional society for PAs. It represents a profession of more than 95,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the majority of the U.S. territories and within the uniformed services. AAPA advocates and educates on behalf of the profession and the patients PAs serve. It works to ensure the professional growth, personal excellence and recognition of PAs and to enhance their ability to improve the quality, accessibility and cost-effectiveness of patient-centered healthcare.

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