Studies done by CME Outfitters (CMEO), an accredited provider in continuing medical education, found incorporating online medical simulation into educational activities helped clinicians achieve best practices in screening for comorbidities in psoriasis, as well as counseling and treating patients with psoriasis.

CMEO presented findings from two activities on psoriasis demonstrating the success of incorporating online medical simulation into educational activities at the 2017 Maui Derm for Dermatologists Meeting. In the poster presentation, CMEO showed its success in educating dermatologists using online medical simulation. “Research has shown gaps among dermatologists in best practices for screening patients with psoriasis for comorbidities and psoriatic arthritis,” said Jamie Reiter, PhD, director of educational outcomes at CMEO. “We identified practice gaps in the treatment of psoriasis in alignment with treatment guidelines. Education is key to narrowing or eliminating those gaps, but not all educational formats are equally effective,” she continued.

To make education more engaging and match real-life experiences with clinical decision-making, CMEO incorporated online medical simulations in two activities geared toward assisting clinicians in achieving best practices related to screening for comorbidities in psoriasis (e.g., psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular disorders) as well as counseling and treating patients with psoriasis. Both simulations consisted of online, narrative, competency-based, branch-logic patient simulations featuring media elements such as video clips and links to resources. Participants were required to make decisions at key steps/branches in the activity and received feedback on their choices at each step.

Assessment of improvements in knowledge, confidence, and performance were sent to participants three months following the activity, as well as to a group of matched nonparticipant controls. Over 2,900 clinicians participated in the activity, representing nearly 33,000 patients with psoriasis. After three months, participants significantly outperformed controls on 5 questions assessing knowledge related to psoriasis screening, CV risk assessment, and treatment (p < .05). This reflected an overall effect size for knowledge of 1.4 (large = .8). Performance was also improved as result of the activity, with significantly more participants versus controls screening for psoriatic arthritis in at least 76% of their patients with psoriasis (37% vs. 7%, p = .005). “These results give us the qualitative data that supports the use of medical simulation in educational activities,” explained Reiter.

Participants also found value in this education, with one saying, “This was OUTSTANDING! I had no idea the vast medical implications for patients with psoriasis,” and another saying the “key point reminder email encouraged me to make a change.”

“Dermatologists and other healthcare providers learned about best practices for screening, treatment, and counseling, resulting in more frequent screening for psoriatic arthritis, compared to matched controls,” Reiter stated. “The online medical simulation provided a safe and effective environment for healthcare providers to improve their clinical decision-making methods.”