Grant Application

Jonathan D’Cunha, MD, PhD, Chris C. Cook, MD, and James D. Luketich, MD, UPMC Presbyterian


Proposed Innovation

New mandates from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) require a minimum of 20 simulation hours for every surgical trainee in an accredited program.

With a grant from The Beckwith Institute, a Cardiothoracic Surgery Simulation Training Program was piloted at UPMC Presbyterian to better prepare surgical residents for patient care. The program provides mandatory training sessions where cardiothoracic surgical procedures can be learned, practiced, and performed in a simulated setting.


Improvements in Action

Fourteen residents participated in the four-hour sessions, which included simulations in on-call thoracic surgical emergencies, cardiopulmonary bypass, minimally invasive esophageal surgery, flexible/rigid bronchoscopy, and robotic surgery procedures. In addition, other modules have been developed for the program, including simulations in aortic valve techniques.

The simulated training modules have provided a reduced stress environment where residents can learn and practice the latest patient care/surgical techniques for both common and rare medical scenarios. It also has provided feedback on areas of weakness for practice and improvement.


Results — In Progress

The simulated training continues as a mandatory training program for cardiothoracic surgical residents. Not only has it enabled residents to meet requirements for simulated training hours, it also has greatly improved performance. The result: a better understanding of potential complications, risks, and treatment options, and improved patient care in the operating room and at the bedside.

Currently, the program is being evaluated to determine what worked, and didn’t, and to measure its impact on patient safety. The curriculum eventually will be published on the MedEdPORTAL (a peer-reviewed repository of educational modules) for use by other programs, and, hopefully, in leading thoracic and surgical education journals.