The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), with funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, has unveiled one of the field’s first suites of online tools to aid surgeons and related medical sub-specialists who care for older people. With the number of older adults undergoing surgery increasing faster than the rate of the population aging itself,[1] the new series of nine AGS’ Geriatrics Virtual Patient Cases (VPCs) for Surgical and Related Medical Sub-Specialties are geared toward helping the entire health care system better understand and respond to the unique care needs of older adults.

“To advance the care we all want as we age, we need to work together to ensure all health care professionals have a basic understanding of geriatrics principles,” said Thomas Robinson, MD, one of the three leads for the multi-specialty editorial board responsible for the development of the VPCs. “This new set of online tools reflects the partnerships we need to spread learning and transform care.”

The VPCs will be available for free through 2020 to the first 1,000 subscribers at GeriatricsCareOnline.org. The Geriatrics VPCs focus on aspects of surgical care unique to older individuals, a growing patient population for all health care professionals, including those without formal geriatrics training. Both continuing medical education and Member Boards’ Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit are available to those who successfully complete each VPC.

The nine interactive multimedia clinical scenarios explore key challenges and opportunities that health professionals may encounter when working to improve care for older people facing surgery – from the proper management of medications to issues surrounding surgical delirium and the need to document end-of-life care preferences and expectations. The VPCs were developed by a diverse group of content experts that included medical specialists from general surgery, urology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, geriatrics, anesthesiology and emergency medicine.

For more information or assistance establishing an account on GeriatricsCareOnline.org, contact GCOinfo@americangeriatrics.org.

[1] Baquero, G.A., & Rich, M.W. (2015). Perioperative care in older adults. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, 12(5), 465-469. doi:10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2015.05.018