Stacy L. Williams, CEO, Simucase
See one, do one, teach one.” For decades, this has been the working instruction model to train medical students. This approach mostly involves students observing their mentors before independently performing clinical procedures on patients. Though this methodology is sound, most veteran clinical practitioners believe that a makeover of this passive training approach is long overdue, as it never exposes a trainee to all the important learning opportunities. Alongside, today’s complex patient care not just requires a clinical student to hone the procedural skills but also master the ability to effectively communicate with patients, and coordinate a variety of patient care activities—something that the traditional training model often fails to inculcate. Passionate to redefine this outdated approach, Simucase was established. Particularly focused on speech-language pathology (SLP) and audiology, Simucase offers an innovative simulation-based educational platform that allows SLP students to evaluate and treat a library of virtual patients. Utilizing patented simulation technology, the platform encourages critical thinking and facilitates alternative clinical education in a no-risk learning environment.
Describing the inception of the company, Stacy Williams, a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and CEO of Simucase, says, “While pursuing my Ph.D., I was studying the development and the impact of simulation technology in the field of communication disorders.” Aiming to bring this study into life, Williams created an immersive virtual learning environment wherein she used a video projector to show different real-life patient scenarios to train students. Later, SpeechPathology.com, a leader in SLP professional development, approached Williams and asked if she wanted to turn her working theory into an online platform and “that is how Simucase was born,” says Williams.
Clint Johnson, VP, Simucase
Williams further notes that when she started Simucase, it was primarily thought of as an assessment platform for faculty to track the development of students. “Soon we realized we can make it more powerful from the student side if we add a learning module,” she adds. Today, Simucase not only offers exceptional ways to gauge a student’s progress, but through interactive dashboards and real-time feedback mechanism, the platform also consistently guides students to enhance their skills. Elucidating a case in point, Williams explains how Simucase helped an SLP student improve his proficiency in diagnosing pediatric cases. Though the student was stellar in handling adult cases, he did not do well when it came to children. For such cases, Simucase offers special remediation plans to help students who need extra effort in certain areas of their study. With Simucase’s assistance, by the end of the semester, the student progressed significantly and showed a high proficiency level in managing pediatric patients.
“Used by more than 200 universities, what makes our simulations so robust is the fact that all the cases are built using real-life scenarios,” says Clint Johnson, VP of Simucase Education. After collecting the necessary information from the patient and the healthcare provider that treated the patient, Simucase builds the simulation in-house. “We also employ a rigorous review process to assess if the case exhibits evidence of best practices, and also run it through our student ambassadors who ascertain if the instructions are lucid,” adds Johnson.
Simucase believes that success follows when one makes the right choices. When the company started, simulation-led training in the communication disorder segment was relatively new. Today, the fact that simulations are included in an SLP’s clinical clock hours is a huge leap toward the acceptance of the technology. While Simucase’s current goal is to further strengthen its functions for communication disorders, in the long run, “Our goal is to create a platform that offers simulation training programs for other healthcare practices as well,” concludes Williams.