HARTFORD, CT, March 11, 2013 – It’s rare for a sophomore to be as experienced in the areas of asthma education and medical simulation technology as is Gunjan Gupta ’15. It’s rarer still for a 20-year-old undergraduate to be accepted to give a presentation at an international health care conference.
But Gupta is a very focused and goal-oriented young woman, one who has already had internships at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Simulation Center and the Rhode Island Hospital Medical Simulation Center (which is affiliated with Brown University). This semester, she has an internship at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center here in Hartford, where she will be involved in a research study that tests patients on their mastery of the use of asthma inhalers using an inhaler application that she helped create.
Patients will be tested before and after the intervention – which will either be written instructions or the online application using simulation technology -- and then retested at a later date to see if the application was successful and whether patients retained the proper inhaler technique.
Hartford has one of the highest rates of asthma in the country, especially among children.
Gupta, a chemistry major from Barrington, RI, has long had an interest in medicine. Early on, she zeroed in on medical simulation technology, a relatively new technique whose main purpose is to properly educate students in various fields through the use of high technology simulators.
Among the reasons for the significant increase in the use of simulation technology for teaching and assessment are changes in health care delivery; worldwide attention on medical errors and the need to improve patient safety; and the shift to outcomes-based education with its requirements for assessment and demonstration of competence, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The Institute of Medicine says that 44,000 to 98,000 deaths are recorded annually due primarily to medical mistakes during treatment.
Upon graduation of Barrington High School, Gupta helped in the development of the asthma simulation application and used the early versions to test on patients to help gain feedback about how to improve or adjust the application. The final version of the application has been completed and will be used in a clinical study at Saint Francis on asthma patients.
At the UMass Medical School’s Simulation Center, Gupta worked with the medical school to help develop and organize a course catalog for the school’s curriculum, which involved simulation and standardized patients, who are normal people trained to act sick and interact with students to provide a real patient–doctor interaction.
At the Rhode Island Hospital Medical Simulation Center, Gupta organized data for appropriateness and satisfaction for the training offered at the Center and attended courses dealing with simulation, such as those having to do with airway management and advanced trauma life support.
Gupta is also a co-president of Trinity’s Open Airways Club and was trained as an asthma educator in the Hartford Public School System. Last year, Trinity students brought their asthma education program to McDonough Expeditionary Learning School and Moylan Elementary School. Asthmatic students were taught how to best manage their symptoms.
Meanwhile, in late January, Gupta presented her abstract as the lead author of “A New Approach to Asthma Inhaler Education Using Simulation Technology,” at the 13th annual Society for Simulation in Healthcare Conference in Orlando, FL.
“Presenting in Orlando was definitely a wonderful experience, not just for the exposure but for other to gain an interest in access to the application,” Gupta said.
She has been accepted to give a short oral presentation in May at the 5th International Clinical Skills Conference 2013 in Italy. It will include the results of the research study that she’s conducting at Saint Francis Hospital.