13:25 PM

Using Brainwaves to Predict Failure

Jump Simulation is working with a UCLA professor on a research project aiming to create better clinical teams.

You’ve seen it before. Your favorite basketball team seems to be on its way to winning the game. Its members are working together flawlessly until all of sudden, a teammate literally and figuratively drops the ball. The team falls apart, it takes them a while to recover and before you know it--the team loses the game.

What if you could predict when a team is about to fall off the edge and help them recover faster? That’s the idea behind ongoing research taking place at Jump Simulation & Education Center. 

Ann Willemsen-Dunlap and Don Halpin of Jump Simulation, a part of OSF HealthCare Innovation, are working with Ron Stevens and Trysha Galloway of The Learning Chameleon to capture and study the brainwaves of medical teams using electroencephalogram (EEG) monitors as they perform a simulated group scenario. The idea is to measure and model how teams work together in response to change. The project is called Team Neurodynamics.

“Team skills are difficult to assess, so our ultimate goal is to develop a rapid, reliable (and) valid assessment system for team performance,” said Stevens, CEO of the Learning Chameleon and Professor Emeritus at the UCLA School of Medicine. “If we can do that, we can then compare across teams, training protocols and training sites. Once you get an understanding of the variation of the landscapes, you can then design very customized training for teams at particular sites and for particular disciplines.”

Team Neuro Ron 1

That’s why Willemsen-Dunlap wanted to be part of this project. She knows a little about medical team work. On top of her duties as the Director of Interprofessional Education for Jump Sim, Willemsen-Dunlap also administers anesthesia at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

“We are committed to good patient care and optimal outcomes,” said Willemsen-Dunlap. “Without understanding how teams actually function together, we can’t take best care of our patients.”

Team Neuro Ann 1

Willemsen-Dunlap says this work could lead to the development of better, standardized clinical education based off of proven and measureable communication and other teamwork principles.

“If we can establish these broad principles here in health care, we will be able to offer them to other industries as well and, at the same time, we will be serving our patients and doing so in a way that offers the best possible outcome. That’s because team members will be consistently working as expert teams and not just teams of experts,” said Willemsen-Dunlap.

Team Neuro Ann 2

Willemsen-Dunlap says her ultimate goal is to be able to assemble teams for training in the morning, collect data, process it in real-time and use that knowledge to conduct afternoon simulation that targets the areas where teams need it most. The work of Jump Sim and the Learning Chameleon was recently published in the journal, Entropy.