Publication Date






Biases in communication can be harmful to patient perceptions of care and the medical team's decision-making. Optimal communication must be taught and practiced similarly to the optimal management of the complex medical conditions associated with sickle cell disease (SCD). This simulation is designed to teach about biases, optimizing communication to and about a patient with SCD, and appropriately diagnosing and managing pediatric osteomyelitis as a complication of SCD.


We designed and implemented a simulation case targeting emergency medicine residents and fellows to raise awareness about biases associated with SCD care and the complication of osteomyelitis in children with SCD. The case was delivered as a scheduled educational activity. Guided debriefing about optimizing care and communication for this patient population followed the simulation. We measured outcomes based on facilitator field notes and participant evaluations (Likert-scale and open-response questions).


Forty learners of varying medical practice proficiencies, societal experiences, and demographics participated, with 30 completing the postsimulation feedback survey. A majority (97%) of participants indicated that the experience was useful and would improve their clinical performance. Participants learned from each other's language and communication styles and reflected on their own communication.


Overall, participants found the simulation very useful as a review of the medical diagnosis and management of osteomyelitis in pediatric SCD. Moreover, they were very engaged and interested in the opportunity to learn about communication biases, particularly as these relate to SCD, to optimize their patient care.


Humans, Child, Communication, Language, Pain, Anemia, Sickle Cell, Osteomyelitis



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.