Performance Improvement 2003. Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research


Innovative Approaches to Training Clinicians for Bioterrorist Attacks: Final Report

The goal of this project—which included an advisory committee of clinicians, medical educators, health systems leaders, and others—was to develop two prototype approaches for training clinicians to recognize and respond appropriately to a possible bioterrorist attack. Early in the project, a two-day workshop was held with the Technical Advisory Committee to discuss the bioterrorism threat and develop approaches for training clinicians for bioterrorism events. At that time, the Committee considered uses of biologic agents as a bioterrorist attack an unlikely, not even a rare, event. The events of the Fall of 2001 markedly changed the nation’s views, and the health community’s opinions about bioterrorism preparedness. New information about bioterrorism disease recognition, treatment, and precautionary measures has evolved with each new patient and event. Two prototype approaches were developed for training clinicians to recognize and respond appropriately to a possible bioterrorism attack. The first approach was a website that has four main segments: the home page, bioterrorism agents, emerging infectious agents, and notifications and key web links. The second approach involved creating simulated bioterrorism patients using virtual reality technologies previously developed by the research contractor.

The Web-based learning materials and the simulation-based learning and evaluation materials were assessed by practicing clinicians (in primary care or infectious disease). The clinicians endorsed the broad approach taken by the website providing historical and clinical information for emerging infections as well as bioterrorism diseases. In our usability evaluation, users testing the software ranked it moderately high to very high.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Carolyn M. Clancy, 301-427-1200 PIC ID: 7680

PERFORMER: Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC

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