Virtual medical education during the Covid-19 pandemic

Smiling handsome Asian doctor reading text message in his smartphone

During the Covid-19 pandemic, medical students and junior doctors came together globally to help sustain their medical education. Led by Birmingham’s Dr Punith Kempegowda, a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow and Specialist Registrar in Endocrinology, Diabetes and General Internal Medicine, SIMBA Simulation was born – an interactive simulation-based approach to learning through instant messaging for medical education. In the past, medical training has predominantly been lecture-based learning, but now SIMBA has successfully integrated both online learning and simulation-based learning to support medical professional’s training during this critical period. And it’s been highly successful, as shown by the following abstract:

Utility of Simulation via Instant Messaging – Birmingham Advance (SIMBA) in medical education during COVID-19 pandemic

Background: Simulation via Instant Messaging – Birmingham Advance (SIMBA) aimed to improve clinicians’ confidence in managing various clinical scenarios during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: Five SIMBA sessions were conducted between May and August 2020. Each session included simulation of scenarios and interactive discussion. Participants’ self-reported confidence, acceptance, and relevance of the simulated cases were measured.

Results: Significant improvement was observed in participants’ self-reported confidence (overall n = 204, p<0.001; adrenal n = 33, p<0.001; thyroid n = 37, p<0.001; pituitary n = 79, p<0.001; inflammatory bowel disease n = 17, p<0.001; acute medicine n = 38, p<0.001). Participants reported improvements in clinical competencies: patient care 52.0% (n = 106/204), professionalism 30.9% (n = 63/204), knowledge on patient management 84.8% (n = 173/204), systems-based practice 48.0% (n = 98/204), practice-based learning 69.6% (n = 142/204) and communication skills 25.5% (n = 52/204).

Conclusion: SIMBA is a novel pedagogical virtual simulation-based learning model that improves clinicians’ confidence in managing conditions across various specialties.

Read the full paper at Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Find out more about SIMBA Simulation