"The future of medical education is reality today at Riverside", stated Bruce P. Hagen, president of Riverside. "The impact that the programmes and technologies will have on the quality of medical education and patient safety overall will be dramatic."
Medical professionals will be able to follow patient simulators from one environment to the next, such as the transition from an emergency paramedic response site to an emergency room to an operating room. Additionally, they will be able to train as "teams" to achieve the highest levels of clinical integration and excellence. Team training is often cited as an essential element in addressing patient safety concerns.
"The Center allows us to take immediate steps to enhance the skills of resident physicians and nurses by utilizing these simulated settings", stated Pamela J. Boyers, Ph.D., director of Medical Education at Riverside. "By using challenging clinical scenarios, they will have the opportunity to learn new procedures and techniques with a human patient simulator before going to the bedside of a real patient."
The 20.000-square-foot facility is located on the fourth floor of Riverside's McConnell Heart Hospital and features the Virtual Care Unit (VCU). Utilizing technology originally used by the military and developed by Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI), the VCU was created by the Riverside medical education team and consists of four separate hospital environments: an operating room, a trauma unit, an ICU room and a standard patient room. Each has its own advanced, human patient simulator, some capable of more than 72.000 physiologic responses. The VCU features four adult and one paediatric simulator as well as one of the world's first infant simulators.
At the core of the VCU is a central control room with one-way windows where "drivers" will be able to run separate scenarios in each of the rooms simultaneously or raise the walls between the rooms for mass casualty exercises. Activity in the room will be recorded with cameras and patient responses on computer for later review and assessment. It will also be possible to recreate actual hospital cases in the VCU.
"Patient simulation opened the door for medical professionals to practise and perfect their roles in a safe environment", stated Lou Oberndorf, president and CEO of METI. "Yet, from first responders arriving on the scene, treating and transporting, to nurses in the ER, to doctors in the OR to post-op and so on, it has remained nearly impossible until now to create scenarios that sufficiently allow medical professionals to step outside their individual professions and practise as a team, just as it would be in real life."
The Cardiac and Endovascular Simulation Lab, called the SimSuite, is one of the first such systems in the country and was developed by the Medical Simulation Corporation. The system will enable physicians and other health care professionals to practise delicate, catheter-based procedures such as balloon angioplasties and stent placements in an incredibly realistic environment. "Simantha", the patient simulator, will offer verbal feedback about how she is "feeling" while vital sign monitors will react to various medications and procedures.
The Laboratory Skills Center (LSC) is a centre with a variety of clinical simulators including:
- airway management trainers for intubations;
- laparoscopic trainers for practising minimally invasive surgical techniques;
- pelvic exam trainers where even the pressure of a doctor's hand touching an ovary can be measured;
- a microvascular lab for practising suturing techniques, tendon reattachments, etc.;
- and an ob-gyn patient model where teams can practise skills for delivering babies.