Interactive Multimedia Simulation to Train Motivational Interviewing Skills

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43DA023767-01
Agency Tracking Number: DA023767
Amount: $117,960.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
DUNS: 128822736
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 (443) 283-2504
Business Contact
Phone: (443) 283-2555
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Motivational Interviewing is a widely used empirically-supported intervention for substance abuse, yet little is known about methods for training this complex treatment among the front-line clinicians who are now being asked to employ it. The available research indicates that the most common methods for training counselors in MI do not sufficiently elicit the level of competence required for clinical trials, where efficacy of this method has been demonstrated. Innovative and economical technologies that assist counselors in acquiring competence in MI would address this gap between the laboratory and clinic for this empirically-based treatment. For this Phase I application, SIMmersion LLC, in cooperation with Dr. Theresa Moyers of the University of New Mexico, proposes to develop a prototype interactive simulation to train MI skills for substance abuse counselors. If feasibility is successfully established during Phase I, the prototype will be expanded into a full-length multimedia training simulation in Phase II. This training simulation will act as a "computerized role-play," allowing practitioners to practice and refine MI skills with a virtual simulated patient. The completed simulation will provide trainees with an engaging training tool with which they can practice critical MI skills in a "safe" environment while receiving consistent and objective feedback. It is anticipated that these elements will have the power to produce measurable increases in both acquisition and retention of MI skills. The simulation would be a useful tool both for new practitioners seeking to acquire MI skills and experienced practitioners looking to refresh or refine existing skills. A small prototype training simulation will be developed and tested with a select group of end users. They will be asked to evaluate the simulation based on ease of learning and operation, realism of the simulated character, potential usefulness of the technique, and how likely they would be to use the game if they had a full simulation available to them. Participants will also be invited to share a qualitative analysis of the simulation by writing a brief evaluation with any specific praise, criticism, and suggestions for improvement in the full-length simulation. Motivational Interviewing (MI) has been shown to be a very effective technique for providing substance abuse intervention, particularly with individuals who are ambivalent about changing. However, the method must be implemented correctly in order to ensure maximum benefit to the patient. The proposed research will produce an innovative new training tool with the potential to increase learning and retention of MI skills among clinicians, thereby benefiting their patients.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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