Hemodialysis simulator: An interactive learning experience for clinicians

Last year, OPENPediatrics announced the release of their newest simulator, the Hemodialysis Simulator. It has already won accolades, as it was named a 2016 winner of the American Society of Nephrology’s Innovations in Kidney Education Contest.

OPENPediatrics’ work in simulation has also been recognized through their selection as a finalist for the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Award, which promotes innovative projects from around the world that address global educational challenges.

The hemodialysis simulator offers stand-alone education on initiating and managing a child on hemodialysis, including setting up an hemodialysis circuit, selecting a prescription, monitoring a patient, assessing laboratory results and managing clinical complications.

Dialysis is very abstract to people who aren’t nephrologists, and this format gives them the opportunity to go at their own pace and learn those background concepts.”

Deborah Stein, MD, a nephrologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and lead content developer of the simulator says she began working on the project after Traci Wolbrink, MD, MPH, co-director of OPENPediatrics approached her with the idea.

“OPENPediatrics had already created a ventilator simulator and Dr. Wolbrink thought this would be an innovative way to teach concepts about dialysis,” says Stein.

With Stein onboard, Wolbrink gathered a group of nephrologists to work with Stein on the project. “Our overarching goal was to break down hemodialysis for people who weren’t nephrologists and decide the best way to demonstrate key concepts,” says Stein. “My role was to develop the educational content for the simulator and ensure that the teaching principles were accurate, useful and represented the gold standard for therapy.”

The result is a hemodialysis simulator that provides an interactive experience for learners to acquire basic knowledge about hemodialysis, practice their skills in a safe environment, and receive direct feedback on their actions, all while controlling the pace of their learning.

“We’ve received a lot of positive feedback,” says Stein. “Dialysis is very abstract to people who aren’t nephrologists, and this format gives them the opportunity to go at their own pace and learn those background concepts. That aspect has been a big draw for a lot of groups, and we’ve even had interest from colleagues in adult nephrology because the concepts are universal.”

The simulator was named in honor of William Harmon, MD, former division chief of Pediatric Nephrology at Boston Children’s.

“Dr. Harmon taught a lot of pediatric nephrologists and was very supportive of this project,” says Stein. “He was interested in keeping up with the new technology and updating our educational tools. Unfortunately, he passed away before this project was published, so we dedicated it to him.”

Learn more about the Hemodialysis Simulator.