Introduction: Simulation, Telehealth, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

What is telehealth?

  • Telehealth is a way to provide medical care using the phone or other technology. It allows patients and providers to connect and provide care while being physically separate.

  • In this case, you will be a telehealth provider, interacting virtually with this patient who is in a remote clinic.

What is medical simulation?

Source: Feinberg School of Medicine

  • Medical simulation is a way to train healthcare providers using simulated patients (either mannequins or actors) to practice essential skills, such as taking a medical history, doing a physical exam, or delivering news to a patient. It allows healthcare providers and/or students to learn in a safe zone where no real patients can be harmed. It does require some suspension of disbelief (or pretending like the case is a real-life situation) in order to get the most out of the scenario.

  • You will be part of a medical simulation case by completing this curriculum, where you act as the student-doctor to diagnose and treat this patient.

  • In this scenario, the patient is reporting to a hospital emergency room. To limit the exposure of hospital staff to the patient, only the nurse and attending doctor will interact with the patient, but they are very busy taking care of many patients. You are a team of doctors-in-training who will interact with the patient over telehealth and will be key to diagnosing and treating the patient.

What is personal protective equipment (PPE)?

PPE is equipment meant to protect the wearer from illness or injury due to occupational hazards -- for example, protect hospital workers from infectious diseases, construction workers from falling objects, or factory workers from dangerous chemicals. It is important to keep people safe and healthy.

What are examples of PPE?

Source: CDC


  • N95 mask - protect yourself

    • Able to filter 95% of aerosolized virus particles from the air - protects wearer from airborne viruses

    • Tight fitting

    • Needs to be professionally fitted (e.g. cannot wear with beard)

  • Surgical mask - protect others

    • Protects wearer from large airborne droplets and splashes

    • Protects others from the wearer’s respiratory emissions

    • Loose fitting

    • Does not filter small viral particles and air is able to leak in around edge of mask

      • When user inhales, may still contract airborne viruses

  • Cloth mask - protect others

    • Similar function to surgical mask with less information known about its effectiveness

Other Types of PPE for Hospital Workers:

  • Gloves

  • Gowns

  • Goggles

  • Face shield

  • Shoe covers

  • Full body suits

  • Respirators

Why has PPE been in the news a lot recently?

There is currently a shortage of personal protective equipment around the world. It makes healthcare workers nervous that they will not be able to keep themselves safe when working with patients who are sick. However, there are a lot of efforts to increase the amount of PPE available to healthcare workers -- for example, in Massachusetts, the governor and New England Patriots teamed up to bring 1.2 million N95 masks into the US for healthcare workers to use. You can help by donating any surgical or N95 masks that you have to hospitals and first responders and helping to make cloth masks for others.

Who is the ideal wearer of each type of mask during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Source: CDC

  • N95 Masks: hospital workers

    • Keep healthcare workforce safe from contracting COVID-19 as they work with patients

  • Surgical face mask: people who are sick

    • Keep the patient from spreading COVID-19 to others that they interact with

  • Cloth masks: general public

    • Slow the spread of the virus and help prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others

    • However, this does not serve as a replacement for physical distancing, handwashing and important safety precautions.

Check-in 1:

Complete the quiz below before moving on to the next module.

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