HomeGrown Solution: Using Dropbox for Real-time Lab/Diagnostic Test Results During Simulation


Using Dropbox for Real-time Lab/Diagnostic Test Results During Simulation

Submitted By

Deborah Bambini

HomeGrown Solution Number


Identification of the Problem

Efforts to increase realism during a simulation should not be limited to the look, feel, and functionality of the manikin, but also involve creating ways to make the simulation lab setting better reflect the "real" clinical setting. This includes access to lab and diagnostic results, new orders, etc. Many simulation labs do not have access to EHRs that would allow changes that occur during a simulation appear for the student in real-time. It becomes a facilitator's role to hand the student a lab slip with results or call in to the room with a critical value.

Unique Idea

Dropbox offers a solution. A Dropbox folder that is shared between the facilitator and the simulation room computer becomes the receptacle for any new EHR documents that need to be generated and communicated to the student during a simulation. During the simulation, if a new lab value would normally become available in an EHR, the facilitator can remotely deposit the result in the folder and become immediately available to the student. This mimics the functionality of an EHR and encourages the student to look for lab results when appropriate, without the cuing that occurs if the facilitator interrupts the simulation to provide the results.


  1. Computer for the student in the simulation room
  2. Computer for the facilitator
  3. Dropbox account

Steps to Creating the Solution

  1. Create a free Dropbox account.
  2. Create a shared folder, labeled with the case scenario.
  3. Create lab result (or diagnostic) report forms appropriate for the scenario in a folder that is NOT shared.
  4. In the simulation lab, save a copy of the shared folder to the desktop.
  5. On the facilitator's computer, bring up the Dropbox account during the simulation.
  6. Have the folder with results open (unshared folder) on the facilitator's computer.
  7. When it is appropriate during the scenario, copy and save the lab result document into the shared folder. The computer in the simulation room will receive notification that a new document is available, possibly prompting the student to check, if they notice.
  8. This process can also be used to provide written new orders to the student.