Simulation Technology Improves Training Quality
Medical simulation technology has dramatically improved during the past decade. EMS providers are no longer limited to using manikins that are unable to respond dynamically to treatments provided them. Simply purchasing a high-fidelity manikin, however, does not guarantee it will integrate into an agency’s training program.
In 2010 AMR in Grand Rapids, MI, completed construction on a high-fidelity simulation lab complete with a separate control room and debriefing space. That facility was the first EMS-based high-fidelity simulation lab in western Michigan. Along with complementary ALS equipment, the patient room has a table-mounted stretcher with cabinetry to hide the support equipment for a high-fidelity manikin. Multiple cameras and microphones in the patient room record provider interactions with “George,” our patient, and allow for comprehensive debriefing.
In 2016, building on an already-robust training program, AMR purchased three additional high-fidelity manikins based on a top vendor’s integrated learning-application system. While AMR’s original manikin had to remain tethered to the table, the new manikins are wireless and portable. Being able to run high-fidelity simulations in a mobile environment lends another level of credibility to scenarios designed for AMR’s EMTs and paramedics, as well as local hospital staff and fire departments.
Keeping Certification Interesting
Certification classes, while important, can feel repetitive, particularly if a provider takes the course using the same curriculum year after year. AMR has been using high-fidelity simulation equipment in its cardiac and trauma courses since the simulation lab was built 10 years ago. The software that controls the manikin allows the controller to change the patient’s presentation in real time based on the treatment provided by the student. Even more useful is the ability to build specific stages into the scenario and automatically change the patient’s status and presentation based on provider actions.
For example, in a classic megacode scenario, the patient might present with chest pain and tachycardia. Five minutes into the scenario we can have the patient begin to have runs of ventricular tachycardia.