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Health-care Simulation: Improves Patient Experiences, Outcomes

by | Alec Olson

The world of health care never stops. Hospitals are open 24/7. Many situations are urgent and the outcomes are critical to the lives of countless people.

That’s why simulation technology in health care is so important.

A trial run will improve skills and processes before they affect real people in real situations. Also, the data generated from simulations can provide predictive analytics to help providers and administrators make better decisions going forward—whether a business decision or a patient plan is being considered.

Improve Workflows and Processes

Behind the scenes, administrators are trying to determine and optimize the best and fastest ways to get hypothetical patients processed and treated.

Simulation technologies allow administrators to visualize complex workflows and patient flows. They track results and trends regarding costs, bed and surgical suite availability, emergency room wait times, overall visit lengths, and more. Then with the results, administrators can see where they can improve efficiency and cut costs—and they can test and make improvements faster than in the past.

The business and patient processes involved in a hospital are often so complex that administrators want to view the software simulations with data visualization technologies that can range from viewing on basic displays to using full immersion.

Sharpen Health-care Provider Skills

Simulation training is not just for medical students. Many large hospitals and medical groups are opening simulation centers to keep their providers up to date on new technologies and treatments.

From training interns, nurses, physicians, and more, simulation technologies take the risk out of learning in the health-care environment and provides more practice opportunities that they would not get otherwise.

Once-crude manikins have evolved into artificially intelligent technologies with voice recognition, their own “vital signs,” built-in cameras to see the simulation from the patient’s point of view, and more, especially depending on the specific use.

Simulation labs create a realistic environment for trainees—sometimes from floor to ceiling—to recreate a real-life event. Health-care providers can be trained and tested in specific skills and procedures, particularly those that are less commonly encountered or those that may pose a greater challenge under stress.

Simulation labs and technologies can also be used to train employees for the workplace and health-care events like violence, natural disasters, epidemics and infections.

Use These Tools to Better Real-Life Patient Experiences  

The technologies and solutions behind health-care simulation can vary greatly by goals, purpose, organization, specialties, and more. Some commonly used elements include:

  • HD and 4K Cameras
  • Easily adjustable lighting
  • Mics, speakers, and voice recognition for recording and to play simulated patient voices
  • Control panels to manage lab features
  • Manikins of various types, with various features
  • Video walls
  • Roll-down projector screens
  • Displays in the lab for simulation review in debriefing rooms
  • Monitors in the lab
  • All-in-one simulation solutions
  • Software for data visualization
  • Displays and virtual and augmented reality solutions for immersive data visualization
  • Local and cloud data storage
  • Ongoing maintenance and monitoring

Some labs are used to replicate patient rooms, operating rooms, emergency rooms, exam rooms, and more. Some are even designed to transform into simulated home spaces to train in telehealth and home visits or to practice or train patients and family members in aftercare and homecare.  

Simulation labs, centers, and solutions are quickly becoming must-haves for health-care facilities. Organizations like the Society for Simulation in Healthcare can help inform organizations about standards, accreditation, research, and more.

 

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