Users of the Prescription Drug Screening and Follow-Up Care training system are doctors or students who will likely encounter a scenario similar to Tom's in the course of their careers.Through the training program they will learn about different prescription pain medications and resources available to healthcare workers by state, and gain practice to better understand how to work with patients to create agreements for safe use and handling of opioid medications, identify high-risk behaviors, and discuss managing chronic pain without opioid medicines when high-risk behaviors are exhibited. The training system includes five hours of interactive educational content and three simulated appointments.
During each simulated appointment with Tom, users have the opportunity to discuss his pain levels, improvement goals, and treatment options. Tom’s behavior will change each time an appointment begins. For example, during the first visit, Tom may be at at low, moderate or high risk for abusing his medication, and sometimes he may be trying to scam the user into prescribing more medication than is necessary.
To add to the challenge, the questions and statements the users select will change how Tom reacts to them. For example, in the second appointment with a high-risk patient, Tom may become very angry and threaten an unsympathetic user who denies the prescription without first building rapport, but he will be willing to discuss alternative treatment options with a compassionate user who utilized opportunities to build a collaborative relationship. This variation in Tom’s behavior and mood ensures that each interaction between doctor and patient provides a unique and engaging training opportunity, even after numerous plays.
This training system aids in increasing healthcare professionals’ comfort levels with these tough conversations. Users receive real-time support and feedback from an on-screen coach and a post-conversation assessment based on how well users master the training objectives for each conversation. After playing this training system, users will be able to approach these difficult topics with a new patient.
We developed this product with guidance from Dr. Michael Fleming and teams of experts at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison with funding through NIDA thru a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant award. During Phase I, SIMmersion developed a demonstration version of the initial screening visit scenario.