Simulation Technology and Immersive Learning
Dr. David Salzman, MD
Simulation Technology & Immersive Learning, Assistant Director
Northwestern University has completed construction of a state-of the-art medical simulation center under the direction of Dr. John Vozenilek (GME 2000). This laboratory is a simulation in itself, representing five acute care rooms, in a design that emulates the look andfeel of an emergency department or intensive care unit. The center is under complete surveillance by an audio-visual system designed to track and record teams of professionals working together to prioritize patient care. The center and these simulations provide a standardized and validated curricula for medical students, residents, and for continuing education with a focus on inter-professional education. This training is focused on dramatically reducing deviations in healthcare quality and improving patient safety. It is located within easy geographic reach for the mid-western United States, and beyond. The new simulation center includes a comprehensive array of innovative programming for healthcare professionals including:
- Simulations of the hospital environment to enhance safety practices and improve patient outcomes
- Dissemination of best practices for simulations-based professional healthcare education
- Simulations of adult and pediatric health services and surgeries, and other specialty areas
- Simulations of inpatient women’s health services in obstetrics and gynecologic surgery, high risk neonatal care and other high-risk specialty areas
- Emergency Preparedness and Emergency Medical Services training
- Maintenance of technical competence for a regional healthcare workforce to serve in times of emergency/disaster relief
- Educational strategies to ameliorate healthcare professional performance gaps which may result in healthcare disparities
- Testing of new equipment or workflows before they are trialed in the real clinical environment.
In fiscal year 2011, the simulation program will assume administrative responsibility for the adjacent Northwestern Center for Advanced Surgical Education, which will further us to our goals for a comprehensive curriculum. New relationships with the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering have created opportunities for medical faculty, residents, and students to participate in the design and development of novel simulators and enhancements to medical devices. Our laboratory’s “innovation” space, which opens in June 2010 is already host to three graduate engineers and two medical students in the summer of 2010.
The center’s five high fidelity simulation “bays,” skills lab and innovations space are designed to provide:
- A safe and comfortable space for immersive interdisciplinary training
- Capacity for high complexity multiple simultaneous simulated patient encounters
- Capacity for investigators who study simulation-based medical education
- Accommodation for innovation in simulation technology-- specifically the creation of new devices for simulation-based medical educatio
Northwestern’s leadership in the area of medical simulation has not gone unrecognized. The American Board of Medical Specialities requested that Northwestern provide several speakers, poster presenters, and an immersive simulation experience for its April 2010 Workshop, entitled, “Simulation and Maintenance of Certification.” All of the member boards, including the American Board of Emergency Medicine were in attendance to discuss how simulation might be used in verifying the competencies of physicians in professional status.