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Trends in Simulation: Using Technology to Enhance Medical Care
By Dr. Samreen Vora, MD, MHAM, FACEP, FAAEM, Children's Minnesota
At Children’s Minnesota, the simulation program serves the entire health system with the goal of making patient care safer. Our simulation program is equipped to utilize simulation as a strategy to improve processes, promote research, and educate health care professionals on best practices to care for all children, from 26-week-old babies to young adults.
Although the cost of simulation technology can be perceived as a barrier, the return on investment is high. Combining the use of advanced technology and the art of simulation techniques saves lives. There is already significant literature to indicate that simulation is an optimal way to learn, and recent simulation research has focused on translational outcomes. To understand the return on investment with the use of this technology, we must understand how the learning translates to the bedside. When healthcare professionals have the opportunity to practice and learn on a high-fidelity manikin or with a standardized participant, actor, they are ultimately better prepared to provide safe care to all their patients. Therefore, in simulation, re-creating the realism is very important. This is made possible by the newest manikins allowing for participants to not only listen to the heart and lungs but also talk to the manikin and perform various procedures.
For example, the ability for technology to create this realism gives surgeons the chance to practice and perfect their technical skills for a new surgical procedure on a task trainer before they perform it for the first time on a patient.
In addition to the realism offered by the manikins, simulationists often use their Hollywood creativity to bring technology to life with moulage, whether this is with a bone sticking out of the leg or a gaping wound on the forehead. But in recent years, 3D printing has taken simulation to the next level. This technology has allowed healthcare professionals around the country to not only practice unique and challenging procedures, but to clearly explain these procedures to patients and families. The ability to take a patient’s specific anatomy and 3D print it to review with them prior to the procedure has revolutionized how we think about healthcare. Although we are just beginning to explore 3D printing at Children’s Minnesota simulation program, we have started to innovatively use simulation strategies to educate our families. We are giving our families the opportunity to benefit from simulation technology, just as our healthcare professionals have. We can now provide time for caretakers of medically complex children to practice skills on manikins or task trainers prior to performing them on their own children. This allows Children’s to lighten the emotional burden of these parents as they transition from being in the hospital to being discharged home.
It is important to remember the core of simulation is not the fancy gadgets, but rather it is a strategy to enhance quality and patient safety in healthcare. The key is the ability to use self-reflective debriefing practices to promote learning and growth
Although simulation technology has rapidly advanced in recent years, it is important to remember the core of simulation is not the fancy gadgets, but rather it is a strategy to enhance quality and patient safety in healthcare. The key is the ability to use self-reflective debriefing practices to promote learning and growth. It is the opportunity to learn and fail without ever harming a patient,this is the true return on investment. The ultimate goal, whether it’s through simulating a process or practicing a procedure, is to improve patient outcomes and continue to provide the best care possible to all pediatric patient that come through Children’s Minnesota.
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