Cognitive aid use improves transition of care by graduating medical students during a simulated crisis

Brooke Bauer, Annette Rebel, Amy DiLorenzo, Randall M. Schell, Jeremy S. Dority, Faith Lukens, Paul A. Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Residents are expected to have transition of care (ToC) skills upon entering graduate medical education. It is unclear whether experience and training during medical school is adequate. Objective: The aim of the project was to assess: 1) graduating medical students' ability to perform ToC in a crisis situation, and 2) whether using a cognitive aid improves the ToC quality. Methods: The authors developed simulation scenarios for rapid response teams and a cognitive aid to assist in the ToC during crisis situations. Graduating medical students were enrolled and randomly divided into teams of three students, randomly assigned into one of two groups: teams using a cognitive aid for ToC (CA), or not using a cognitive aid (nCA). In the scenario, teams respond to a deteriorating patient and then transfer care to the next provider after stabilization. Three faculty reviewed the recording to assess completeness of the ToC and the overall quality. A completeness score was expressed as a fraction of the maximum score. Statistical analysis was performed using a t-test and Mann-Whitney U test. Results: A total of 112 senior medical students participated: CA n=19, nCA n=17. The completeness score of the ToC and overall quality improved when using the cognitive aid (completeness score: CA 0.80±0.06 vs. nCA 0.52±0.07, p < 0.01; ToC quality: CA 3.16±0.65 vs. nCA 1.92±0.56, p < 0.01). Participants' rating of knowledge and comfort with the ToC process increased after the simulation. Conclusion: The completeness of information transfer during the ToC process by graduating medical students improved by using a cognitive aid in a simulated patient crisis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32118
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Brooke Bauer et al.


  • Cognitive aid
  • Communication
  • Crisis management
  • Rapid response
  • Simulation
  • Transition of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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