Medical Simulation Corporation opens SimSuite Center at the Swedish Heart Institute

Seattle 18 October 2002At the Swedish Heart Institute in Seattle, the world's first commercial SimSuite Center has opened. Developed by Medical Simulation Corporation (MSC) of Englewood, Colorado, the high-tech simulated training system is poised to revolutionise how physicians and health care teams learn, and to benefit patient outcomes and quality of care. Enabled with a simulated patient named "Simantha", the SimSuite Training System simulates the realistic experience of a patient with routine or unique needs being received and treated by hospital staff. The system integrates a patented, tactile "force-feel" technology in a dynamic learning environment.

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"Now doctors can hone their skills on a system that looks, sounds and feels as close to reality as possible", stated Dr. Mark Reisman, director for cardiovascular research and interventional cardiology at the Swedish Heart Institute. "When we treat real patients, that will mean faster completion times and fewer complications."

At the Swedish Heart Institute, the SimSuite Center will be used to train physicians, nurses, and techs on catheter-based, cardiovascular procedures such as angioplasty or balloon treatment, as well as the placement of cardiac stents, small wire mesh devices designed to keep arteries open after angioplasty. Hundreds of these procedures are done every day in hospital cardiac catheterisation labs across the United States.

"As the Northwest's largest, most comprehensive source for advanced cardiac care, the Swedish Heart Institute trains providers from around the world. We are excited to begin offering them an opportunity to learn and practise new techniques and to trial new devices in a virtual setting", stated Jay Bohreer, executive director of the Swedish Heart Institute. "This type of reality-based training and the availability of this technology is great news for patients everywhere."

"Simulation technology has been used for decades in the aviation industry to train pilots on new aircraft. It is now federally mandated", stated Captain Bill Rutherford, M.D., retired vice president of flight standards and training for United Airlines, and partner in HRR Consultants, a firm specialising in the medical application of human factors and simulation. "We know it works and are pleased to see this sophisticated technology transferred to medicine."

The system's current courseware, authored by leading United States' physicians, offers diagnostic and interventional procedural training for helping to combat the nation's major killer cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association estimated that in 1999 almost 41 percent of all deaths were related to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, consider that the Institute of Medicine reports up to 98.000 United States' patients die each year due to medical errors, and that 50 percent of interventional cardiologists and 42 percent of institutions do not meet the minimum guidelines for procedure competency, according to the American College of Cardiology.

"Health care professionals need to know there is a safe alternative for practising rare and routine procedures. Practitioners, when using a new device for the first time, do not need to jeopardise the safety of patients. With the use of a SimSuite Training System, teams are enabled with safe choices, and new devices can be introduced into the marketplace at an accelerated pace", stated William Younkes, CEO and president of Medical Simulation Corporation.

MSC is also developing training programmes for use in interventional neurology, interventional radiology, emergency medicine, and more. Approximately 12-15 SimSuite Centers are to open nationwide by the end of 2003. The second SimSuite Center has opened on October 24, 2002 at the Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pennsylvania.

The Swedish Heart Institute (SHI) encompasses all of Swedish Medical Center's cardiac-care services, which include the expertise of nearly 60 physicians at hospitals and clinics across the Puget Sound region. Through these satellite facilities, SHI provides convenient services close to home, while giving people access to the extensive human and technical resources of the medical centre.

SHI offers a broad spectrum of cardiac services from topnotch surgical and interventional procedures to the latest advances in heart-disease prevention, diagnosis and cardiac rehabilitation. Last year, SHI physicians performed more than 1400 open-heart surgeries and 4000 other advanced cardiac procedures. Other SHI members include cardiologists at Minor & James Medical PLLC and The Polyclinic, Stevens Cardiology Group, Seattle Heart Clinic, First Hill Cardiology Consultants, Valley Internal Medicine, Swedish Cardiology, Highline Cardiology Consultants, Ballard Cardiology, Bellevue Cardiology, Swedish Cardiovascular Surgery, Pacific Cardiology, and Physicians Anesthesia Service.

Medical Simulation Corporation, founded in 1998, is known for its proprietary SimSuite Training Systems. These patented tactile, force-feel simulation systems are full-service solutions for health care teams. Providing access to leading health care authors, the SimSuite Center courseware library encourages a "see one, sim one, solve many" learning environment.

Utilising principles pioneered in the aviation industry and with input from its medical advisory board, the company's SimSuite Centers are creating a quantum shift in the way physicians, nurses, and their teams perform new procedures, gain familiarity to rare cases, and increase comfort levels with complex ones. More MSC news is available in the VMW April 2002 article SimSuite simulation training showcased on bus in "Reality Without Risk" roadshow.


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