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Published Online: 8 April 2019

Efficacy and Usability of a Virtual Simulation Training System for Health and Safety Hazards Encountered by Healthcare Workers

Publication: Games for Health Journal
Volume 8, Issue Number 2


Objective: This study evaluated the efficacy, usability, usefulness, and desirability (UUD) of a Home Healthcare Interactive Virtual Simulation Training System (HH-VSTS) designed to train home healthcare workers (HHWs) and healthcare students to identify and respond to health and safety hazards in client homes.
Materials and Methods: Participants were randomly assigned to either the HH-VSTS training group or to the paper-based training group. The HH-VSTS group completed three HH-VSTS Training Modules on a laptop/desktop computer. The training modules addressed hazard identification, hazard rationale, and hazard response to electric/fire/burn, slip/trip/lift, and environmental hazards. The paper-based training group reviewed identical information in a written hard-copy format. Both groups completed an HH-VSTS Assessment module. Participants completed demographic/background and UUD questionnaires, and in-system metrics measured their performance on hazard identification, rationale, and response.
Results: Participants (n = 74) were HHWs and students in health profession programs. There were no significant differences in participants' ability to correctly identify hazards, rationale, or how to address them. Participants identified over 90% of hazards, although fewer participants were able to correctly identify what makes an item a hazard or how to manage it. For those in the HH-VSTS group, over 83% found the HH-VSTS easy to use, over 94% agreed the HH-VSTS was useful, and over 80% liked it.
Conclusion: The HH-VSTS provided and engaging, efficacious training that was as effective as a typical paper-based training. In addition, the HH-VSTS is usable by a variety of end users, regardless of computer or gaming experience.

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Published In

cover image Games for Health Journal
Games for Health Journal
Volume 8Issue Number 2April 2019
Pages: 121 - 128
PubMed: 30234397


Published online: 8 April 2019
Published in print: April 2019
Published ahead of print: 19 September 2018


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Barbara J. Polivka
School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky.
Sarah Anderson
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Steve A. Lavender
Department of Integrated Systems Engineering and The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Department of Orthopedics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Carolyn M. Sommerich
Department of Integrated Systems Engineering and The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Donald L. Stredney
Department of Biomedical Informatics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Celia E. Wills
College of Nursing, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
Amy R. Darragh [email protected]
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.


Address correspondence to: Amy R. Darragh, PhD, OTR/L, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, 453 W 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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