September 20, 2022By Lance Baily

Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist and Simulation

Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is the leading medical simulation book for healthcare professionals starting or expanding their use of the emerging methodology to improve learning, training, and patient safety outcomes. From basic theories to advanced practices, this healthcare simulation book has been praised as a “must-read” by leading medical simulation experts around the world. This article takes a closer look at chapter 17 which focuses on “The Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialist and Simulation.” Written by Lawrence M. Rascon Jr., EMT-P, CHSOS Division of Simulation Education, Department of Emergency Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso, El Paso, Texas, this chapter discusses how the most important unit of equipment for simulation-based education is the manikin.

Beginning this chapter, Rascon notes that specific tasks require specific adherence to realism to most effectively teach skills or allow opportunities for effective learning. Additionally, he notes that manikins and task trainers vary in fidelity and purpose. Further, they can be offered in various degrees of function and feedback to the learner (features which are commonly referred to using the terms high-, medium-, and low-fidelity). Yet, in this chapter, Rascon shares that some simulationists now support moving away from these terms, and instead using ones that reflect more specific functions or feedback that are offered during training (a theme now referred to as “affordance” offered by each device).

Along with varying complexities, Rascon explains that manikins can also vary in terms of the cost of time, effort, and expenditure for regular and situational maintenance. Regarding maintenance and repair, every manikin comes with an owner’s manual that includes a schedule of maintenance and testing practices to ensure the functionality of the equipment. Depending on the frequency and intensity of use, Rascon explains that creating a schedule that is specific to a program to offer the best longevity for its equipment may be necessary.

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“Tracking utilization will help identify which products are either at greatest risk for failure or determine which products need to be kept in tip-top shape for continued educational use based on demand,” he writes. “Along with the manuals, manufacturers will include some necessary tools for maintenance. These tools are either specially designed for or specific to the mechanisms within the manikin or task trainer.”

Those looking to invest in a manikin should certainly be aware of all the costs associated with these devices. Yet, Rascon points out that manikins usually have limited-time warranties that can range from 1 to 5 years, depending on the manufacturer, model, and available sales options. After the initial warranty has expired, there may be an option to pay for additional time on a warranty as well. Rascon explains that the decision to extend a warranty should depend on a few factors:

  • Frequency of use, the intricacy of parts
  • The expense of ad hoc repairs
  • Cost of full replacement
  • Level of damage sustained over time relative to the price of any additional warranty

To work to ensure that no damage is accrued, simulationists must learn how to utilize each device safely and correctly. Upon purchase, a vendor representative normally provides training for the hardware features and software installation, as well as a comprehensive training course. Rascon believes attending these sessions is important, as is taking notes, and if possible, recording specific sections for review in the event of staffing turnover or for use in training a new hire.

“The equipment itself may change as a manufacturer releases new models or additional functions are programmed into existing equipment,” Rascon explained. “This may be in the form of a software upgrade or a hardware add-on. It is essential to stay current with the changes made by the manufacturers, which will most likely be released through newsletters and/or email notifications.”

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The variation in ways in which this information is released stems from there being various manufacturers to choose from when considering the purchase of manikins and simulation equipment. While Rascon explains that there is no one absolute choice, each manufacturer has unique training demographics and their own material and equipment specialties. He says these companies are motivated by practical medical training, patient safety, repeat purchasing, and market perpetuation – in addition to profit.

“Much of the deliberation for acquisition should be focused on the equipment’s intended purposes, current and prospective clientele, and compatibility with the existing training activities within a simulation center,” Rascon explained. “Although impressive to own, it would be a shame to spend $85,000 on a state-of-the-art high-fidelity manikin including proprietary software that would go under- or unused.”

Ultimately, he says that the goal is to be aware of the educational and training needs for a simulation curriculum. Rascon believes this must be balanced with the finances, knowledge, training, and expertise of the healthcare simulation technology specialist, and the function of the equipment. He says that “while the purpose of this technology and educational theory is to prepare learners to save lives, the invaluable price of life is, in one indirect way or another, itemized in someone’s ledger book.”

This “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” book chapter additionally discuss scenario development and case operations, speaking to ways to deliver education through simulation. Rascon also shares a number of considerations for case creation and implementation planning. He believes that being able to think about what each person will experience and plan to do will help them to engage without the need to pause or redirect the scenario.

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More key takeaways from the Latest Simulation Operations book include:

  • A practical guide helps prepare professionals for the broad scope of simulation in healthcare
  • Defines the domains of medical simulation operations
  • Focuses on the development of the healthcare simulation technology specialist
  • Written and edited by leaders in the field of clinical simulation

Written and edited by leaders in the field, Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice is optimized for a variety of learners, including healthcare educators, simulation directors, as well as those looking to pursue a career in simulation operations as healthcare simulation technology specialists. Grab your copy today through the following affiliate commissioned links.

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