Data Management Workflow and Architecture For Simulation-Based Medical Training
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Purpose: Research is ongoing on how best to integrate simulation-based surgical training and the associated quantitative metrics into competency-based medical education. In a review of the literature, study data management tools and methods were lacking. Specifically, we were not able to find any open-source tools for managing data associated with simulation-based education. Our objective was to develop a practical data management workflow and architecture for simulation studies and implement the workflow as a free and open-source software tool. Methods: We designed the required data management to be compatible with the Perk Tutor (www.perktutor.org ) free open-source medical simulation platform, developed primarily for image-guided intervention training. In order to determine key requirements, we consulted medical training experts who routinely use the Perk Tutor for trainee evaluation. With this information, we documented the current workflow and identified its limitations. Software design methods were followed to design the required data management module. In the analysis phase of the project, possible storage options were compared in order to choose one that would fulfill the requirements. Options included: XML, comma-separated values, e-learning platforms and database tools. Results: A prototype module was implemented as designed within the Perk Tutor platform. The module downloads, and parses data in CSV format from a learning management system (Moodle). Then, the simulation data generated and session metadata is saved together to the local file directory. The local directory is synchronized with a remote password-protected file server and trainee results are uploaded to Moodle. This system of data storage was found to be secure and user-friendly. The implemented module facilitates acquiring metadata and ensuring simulation results are securely stored and accessible for analysis. Conclusion: The new workflow design allowed us to implement a prototype module within the open-source Perk Tutor image-guided intervention training platform. Future work includes surveying users to evaluate the usefulness and performance of our data management solution.