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How Intermountain Healthcare Uses Simulation to Enhance Safety and Improve Outcomes
By Tammy Richards, RN, Assistant Vice President Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare uses simulation facilities and technology to train caregivers throughout our Utah-based, not-for-profit system that includes 24 hospitals, 160 clinics, 38,000 employees, a Medical Group with 2,300 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, and, a health insurance company called SelectHealth.
The purpose of simulation at Intermountain is to enhancepatient safety and improve clinical outcomes through hands-on scenarios that mimic real-life settings. Intermountain’s simulationtraining involves simulating realistic patient care scenariosso caregivers can practice and refine how they'd respond in a real situation.
Details on how simulation exercises are conducted:
• Intermountain uses advanced simulation technology to help staff develop and practice physical skills, critical thinking, decision-making, collaboration, and communication in a safe, realistic environment.We often use robotic mannequins that mimic health conditions and respond to treatment methods, as well as actors in moulage — makeup that simulates injuries — as part of the training.
Intermountain’s simulation training involves creating realistic patient care scenarios so caregivers can practice and refine how they'd respond in a real situation
• Simulationlabs are fully outfitted with interactive, computer-driven mannequins that allow deliberate practice of a full range of clinical interventions. The labs areequipped with sinks, patient beds, crash carts, and all necessaryequipment to make the experience feel like an actual medical situation.
• High-definition cameras are positioned throughout Intermountain’s simulation center, which gives it's staff the ability to view and interact with medical staff as if they were the patient, but from a centralized observation control room.
• One Intermountain facility crafted a simulated apartment that’s used for educating patients on self-care management at home. One primary objective is to teachpatients who have heart failure and their family members how to manage the chronic condition at home,which supplementsprinted information patients receive when they’re discharged.The interactive exercise includes handling daily medications, measuring blood pressure, and making food plans.
Results have shown improvements in self-care management. Patients have higher confidence in their treatment plans, greater satisfaction in their care, and fewer self-care management errors.This simulation-based education for heart failure patients resulted in a 30-day readmission rate of 7.5 percent compared to 12.3 percent for those who don’t participate in the program.
• We offer simulation training services to community partners. These include emergency medical serviceproviders, physician and clinic offices, local search and rescue teams and first responders, and other caregivers. The result is a strengthened connection to our community.
• We’re cost-effective.We’re mindful of our financial role and strive to provide high-quality simulation activities at the lowest possible cost that will help reduce overall costs through our best-practices protocols, which include simulation training.