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Logo of qualsafetyQuality and Safety in Health CareCurrent TOCInstructions for authors
Qual Saf Health Care. 2005 October; 14(5): 326–331.
PMCID: PMC1744065

Improving medical emergency team (MET) performance using a novel curriculum and a computerized human patient simulator


Problem: Advance cardiac life support (ACLS) training does not address coordination of team resources to improve the ability of teams to deliver needed treatments reliably and rapidly. Our objective was to use a human simulation training educational environment to develop multidisciplinary team skills and improve medical emergency team (MET) performance. We report findings of a crisis team training course that is focused on organization.

Setting: Large center for human simulation training at a university affiliated tertiary care hospital.

Participants: Ten courses were delivered and 138 clinically experienced individuals were trained (69 critical care nurses, 48 physicians, and 21 respiratory therapists). All participants were ACLS trained and experienced in responding to cardiac arrest situations.

Course design: Each course had four components: (1) a web based presentation and pretest before the course; (2) a brief reinforcing didactic session on the day of the course; (3) three of five different simulated scenarios; each followed by (4) debriefing and analysis with the team. Three of five simulator scenarios were used; scenario selection and order was random. Trainees did not repeat any scenario or role during the training. Participants were video recorded to assist debriefing. Debriefing focused on reinforcing organizational aspects of team performance: assuming designated roles independently, completing goals (tasks) assigned to each role, and directed communication.

Measures for improvement: Participants graded their performance of specific organizational and treatment tasks within specified time intervals by consensus. Simulator "survival" depended on supporting oxygenation, ventilation, circulation within 60 seconds, and delivering the definitive treatment within 3 minutes.

Effects of change: Simulated survival (following predetermined criteria for death) increased from 0% to 89%. The initial team task completion rate was 10–45% and rose to 80–95% during the third session.

Lessons learnt: Training multidisciplinary teams to organize using simulation technology is feasible. This preliminary report warrants more detailed inquiry.

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