Teaching angioplasty at Tiffany's and practising pulmonary procedures with PediaSim

Englewood and Sarasota 18 March 2001Medical Simulation Corporation, based in Englewood, Colorado, and Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI), headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, are both companies with extensive experience in building simulators to train health care students and doctors, and teach them how to accurately perform all kinds of medical procedures. In late 1999, METI introduced the PediaSim, the world's first Paediatric Patient Simulator, and during a recent conference of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Orlando, Medical Simulation launched the SimSuite Training System.

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Simulators are designed to provide physicians with all the effects of sight, sound, and touch which are experienced when operating on a real patient. This allows doctors to learn how to make the appropriate decisions in scenarios they are likely to face in real situations of emergency. Reactions to medication and unexpected complications can occur during a simulation, just as they do in actual clinical settings, testing a doctor's decision-making skills. Monitors display the patient's vital signs as well as fluoroscopic video of the actual procedure being performed.

METI's PediaSim is a child-size paediatric patient which can be utilised for realistic, flexible training and education for medical students and health care providers in the paediatric environment. The system enables students and professionals to learn and practise without the risk of harming a real child or worrying the parents. The simulator has sophisticated models of paediatric physiology and pharmacology which automatically determine the simulated child's response to a student's actions or interventions. Combined with the dynamic interaction of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and pharmacological models, PediaSim completely represents a paediatric patient.

In addition to PediaSim, METI produces the adult Human Patient Simulator (HPS), the most advanced, state-of-the-art patient simulator system offering unparalleled education and training opportunities for all kinds of medical specialities. The HPS and PediaSim allow for repeated practice of routine procedures, rare conditions, and life-threatening emergencies without the risk of harming an adult or child patient. Each simulator supports over 50 drugs and anaesthetic agents.

The HPS is currently used in over 90 institutions all over the world including universities, hospitals, community colleges, technical schools, industry, and military operations. METI equally offers turnkey simulator-based education programmes which are applied by pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, as well as supply cost management organisations. The education programmes are a unique marketing tool utilised in the introduction of novel drugs and equipment, and in offering initial training or continuing education to sales representatives and their customers.

Medical Simulation Corporation's SimSuite will be rolled out commercially in 2002 for use by hospitals, medical schools, and medical device companies. One of the system's components was demonstrated in a coronary angioplasty simulation before the American College of Cardiology conference audience on March 18, 2001. This part of the training system is called Tiffany, referring to the innovative tactile force-feel simulation technology, as developed by the company.

Dr. David Holmes of the Mayo Clinic, who is heading an American College of Cardiology task force, which has been installed with the aim to examine how to train medical professionals in performing new procedures commented that simulators already are utilised in some kinds of medical training, such as in anaesthesiology. Dr. Homes anticipated that they will become a vital part of education in many more medical specialities from the moment they are able to create truly realistic medical simulations. To know how this is done, you can read this month's VMW article Tele-training on human patient simulators in virtual space evokes real life stress.


Leslie Versweyveld

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