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College's Digital Communication-Skills Training Technology Expands Reach

July 1, 2015

Drs. Dennis Novack and Christof Daetwyler, two of CommSim's three creators

Drs. Dennis Novack and Christof Daetwyler, two of CommSim's three creators

Drexel University College of Medicine’s digital communication-skills training and assessment technology has been acquired by DecisionSim, Inc., a leading provider of healthcare simulation-based learning. The technology — known as CommSim™ — adds communications training to the company’s decision-making simulation platform, DecisionSim™.

CommSim was created at Drexel by Christof Daetwyler, MD, associate professor of family, community and preventive medicine and developer of online resources for medical education;  Dennis Novack, MD, professor of medicine and associate dean of medical education; and Gregory McGee, software developer. The technology facilitates remote audiovisual encounters between trainees and standardized patients for practicing and assessing healthcare communication competencies. It was funded through a grant awarded by the University City Science

"It's very rewarding to see this program evolve and merge with other technologies to drive advances in healthcare training and delivery," said Daetwyler. "The collaboration is a prime example of academia and industry joining forces to maximize the potential of healthcare simulation."

Research has shown that ineffective healthcare team communication is the root cause of almost two-thirds of all medical errors, costing Americans billions of dollars in missed prevention opportunities and unnecessary, inefficient services.

"We continually look for ways to innovate and collaborate to provide the most comprehensive simulation-based teaching and assessment model for healthcare professionals to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs," said Bob Yayac, CEO of DecisionSim, Inc. "We have engaged experts in communications-skills training, research and education to oversee all aspects of CommSim and ensure full integration with our established DecisionSim platform."

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) — the largest integrated healthcare delivery system in the U.S. — has been using DecisionSim since it launched a pilot program with DecisionSim, Inc. in 2011. Based on the success of the pilot, the VA signed a five-year, enterprise-wide contract in 2012, providing all VA employees access to DecisionSim. DecisionSim, Inc. plans to add CommSim into its existing healthcare training and assessment programs, offering expanded education opportunities for the VA's more than 340,000 employees.

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