Stephen Burrows, Chair & Program Director of Healthcare Information Systems at Sacred Heart University’s College of Health Professions, once reflected on the growing use of healthcare simulation technology in Healthcare on HealthcareITNews.com. How does your healthcare IT department interact with your simulation program?
With an explosion of technology in simulation, the opportunity to teach healthcare students has almost limitless boundaries. At the heart of simulation in healthcare is the human patient simulator (HPS). In 1969, Abrahamson, Denson, and Wolf wrote about the ‘Effectiveness of a simulator in training anesthesiology residents’ and the use of patient simulators (Journal of Medical Education) to train physician residents. They felt that simulation held much promise and, from their findings, it would provide “a significant time saving in training” and that “anesthesiology residents might be expected to achieve this level of professional competence in a saving of 22 days over a period of 77 days.”
Today’s patient simulators are significantly more advanced. Most of them can blink, breathe, cry, sweat, and have a heartbeat and pulse. When hooked up to monitors, they can even display vital signs. With some customization by the faculty the ‘patient’ can exhibit any number of cardiac arrhythmias. The technology can even mimic virtually every major bodily function. Using different scenarios, students can experience a range of events from physical examination to major trauma. The simulator even recognizes injected medications via RFID and responds with appropriate vital signs. This is a particularly helpful (and safe) way to demonstrate a reaction to the wrong medication being given by the student.