News Article

Aptima Develops Cognitive Load & Sociometric Monitoring of Medical Team Simulations to Improve Training
Date: Aug 01, 2014
Source: Company Data ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Aptima Inc of Woburn, MA

ACLAMATE measures performance, cognitive load, and team dynamics for instructors to modify scenarios on the fly

Woburn, MA -- July 7, 2014 -- The surgical team huddles around the patient. They quickly stop the bleed, saving the fictional patient's life but they've lost an opportunity. The medical simulation, too simple, too easy, and too quick doesn't challenge their skills for teaching value. For another team, the complications of the scenario stumps effective learning.

How can instructors monitor and modify these training scenarios on the fly to maximize learning?

To address that challenge, Aptima is developing ACLAMATE -- the Automated Cognitive Load Assessment for Medical Staff Training and Evaluation. Funded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and managed by the Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), ACLAMATE is a system that unobtrusively collects and analyzes data about team workload during the simulation, giving trainers the ability to monitor and modify the scenarios to maximize individual trainee and team learning.

While medical simulator technologies have advanced, methods to measure training effectiveness have lagged. Currently, trainers use pencil and paper-based assessments that are limited to coarse high-to-low rating scales. In complex medical exercises where personnel each perform a different role, such broad evaluations don't adequately reflect the learning experience for individuals and the team.

ACLAMATE closes that gap by analyzing data across several dimensions during the medical scenario, measuring the cognitive workload of each team member as well as the interpersonal dynamics and communications occurring amongst the group.

"Relying on a simple ‘1-5' rating to evaluate training effectiveness can result in a gross oversimplification of whether learning objectives have been met. And more importantly, if not, why not?" said Jeff Beaubien, ACLAMATE principal investigator for Aptima. "You may have two teams that each received the same rating, but for entirely different reasons. One may have been under-challenged and bored, doing the minimum, while the other may have been overloaded with the scenario's complexity, barely passing."

Aptima will be demonstrating the ACLAMATE technology at the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) Capitol Hill Modeling and Simulation Expo, on July 10, 2014 from 10:30 to 2:00 in the Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.

ACLAMATE in Action

During a simulation, unobtrusive sensors collect each member's heart rate, brain activity and other neuro-physiological signals to assess individual and team workload. The team, comprising a surgeon, anesthesiologist, nurses and technicians, also wears Sociometric® Badges, which use wireless microphones and accelerometers to record who's talking to whom, turn taking, speech volume and pitch over time.

ACLAMATE's algorithms analyze these data streams in real-time. Instructors are automatically alerted to changes in cognitive load, allowing them to modify the scenario to ensure learners stay within the zone of proximal development throughout the exercise.

"Optimal learning occurs when trainees are kept in a sweet spot of proper cognitive load, where members of the healthcare team are pushed just beyond their limits, yet not overwhelmed," said Scott Pappada, ACLAMATE project manager. "For example, if the scenario progresses to include complications, such as a sudden bleed, the trainer would be alerted before the team becomes overloaded; he or she could then modify the scenario accordingly" added Pappada.

Aptima is developing ACLAMATE in partnership with Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center and Sociometric Solutions®, Inc.

The Sociometric® Badge is a trademark of Sociometric Solutions®, Inc.