A hematocrit is a test that measures the percentage of red blood cells (by volume) in a blood sample. An abnormal hematocrit result can indicate a number of potential health problems, but the most common is anemia, indicated by a low hematocrit. Hematocrit procedures and results are often discussed in anatomy classes where students may practice reading hematocrit results using preprepared pictures.
The advantage of the Hematocrit Simulation is that collected student results will have variety. The accompanying virtual lab asks each student to collect 15 different samples and then track the results in different age groups. Students can also be directed to collect class data, giving a wider view of the tested "population."
Each time the simulation is run, a hematocrit image is produced, along with the age and sex of the patient. There is a 50/50 chance of female or male, but the age distribution approximately resembles the distribution in the U.S. Hematocrit range, and chances of abnormal results vary depending on age group and sex.
The simulation and virtual lab were made in collaboration with Beth Wolfer.