FAQ

The SIMPL App

 

Which platforms are supported?

SIMPL is available for both iOS (iPhone) and Android based handheld devices.  As funding allows we will also be developing a desktop version that can be used by residents, fellows, and attendings.  The local administrative lead within a program has access to a desktop administrative site.  Details about the specific platforms that are supported can be found on our support site.

How does this work for multiple trainees?

The app allows multiple trainees to be associated with each case and to be evaluated separately.  For example, if there is a senior resident taking a junior resident through a case, the senior might be evaluated by the attending as being in Supervision Only.  The junior resident might be evaluated by the attending as being in Passive Help.  The senior resident does not evaluate the junior resident.

What happens with the dictated data?

Faculty can optionally dictate feedback as part of the evaluation.  We intend that this be used to provide the resident with specific formative feedback.  Dictation audio is uploaded to our server and is available to resident to listen to at any time.  This data is *not* transcribed or otherwise analyzed.

Can we add other questions to the app?

Not right now.  We would like to enable the SIMPL app to support other evaluation instruments but we don't have the resources to build out that functionality right now.  

Why not use a more detailed checklist such as OPRS?

OPRS is an excellent tool--it was actually developed by some of the board members of PLSC.  It is great for a more detailed analysis of resident technical performance and SIMPL does not replace it.  OPRS is relatively long, however, and some faculty are reluctant to fill it out for every case.  SIMPL is shorter and it is feasible to use after every procedure.  We envision using SIMPL to identify those residents who are deviating from the norm and then use more complex tools such as OPRS to examine their performance in more detail. 

Can SIMPL evaluations be used to meet the American Board of Surgery's operative performance assessment requirement?

The American Board of Surgery has indicated that evaluations of operative performance using SIMPL as well as other similar tools can be used to meet the operative performance assessment requirement for general surgery certification applicants.

 

Legal and Administrative

 

Security

Users are authenticated with the system using a unique password that is stored on the server in encrypted form.  All traffic between clients and the server are likewise encrypted.  Servers are co-located in a secured location in the United States and are protected by a firewall.  Server and network configurations have undergone a security audit by a qualified third-party.  All software is periodically updated as patches are released. 

HIPAA and PHI

SIMPL has been specifically designed to meet HIPAA requirements. We collect only the following data, which is in the form of a  "Limited Data Set" as described by the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996:

  • Date of procedure
  • Attending name
  • Resident name
  • Procedure type
  • Evaluation scores and dictated feedback

Confidentiality

PLSC takes the confidentiality of its users seriously.  We strive to balance the need by faculty for trainee data to individualize teaching and supervision with the need to protect the privacy of trainees.  To that end, trainees do not have access to identifying performance data of other trainees.  They do have access to aggregated data about other trainees in their program in order that they can evaluate their own relative performance.  Where these two goals are in conflict (for example, where there are few trainees who have done a given type of procedure) we err on the side of confidentiality.

Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA)

At the time of their first login, trainees are asked to sign a consent form.  This consent outlines how faculty and program staff will use their evaluation data.  If the trainees decline to consent then they are not granted access to the system.