May 29, 2024By Kaylee Peden

UPMC’S WISER Sim Center Can Support Your Patient Safety Program

The Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER) is a state-of-the-art simulation training and research facility that serves both the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Health Sciences and the UPMC Health System. In addition to the main campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, WISER supports nine additional satellite centers across the region to service the growing demands for simulation-based training programs. As a simulation center fully accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) for teaching, assessment, research, systems integration, and fellowship programs, WISER provides quality healthcare education programs that enhance clinical performance, reduce medical errors, and increase patient safety. This HealthySimulation.com article by Kaylee Peden, BA, will explore the ways in which WISER supports patient safety initiatives on behalf of the UPMC health system and its hospitals, while offering faculty and staff development solutions for simulation centers worldwide.

WISER’s Impact on Patient Safety

WISER has illustrated its dedication to improving patient care outcomes through their most recent Patient Safety Report. This report highlights how the immersive simulation-based education programs that are developed and deployed help healthcare practitioners enhance their knowledge and skills in delivering the highest quality of care to every patient. Programs identified in this report include WISER’s one-of-a-kind First 5 Minutes: What to Do Until the Code Team Arrives course. This internal program, designed to train providers in the early recognition and treatment of emergently ill patients prior to rapid response teams, ensures there is an appropriate response when patients experience unexpected deterioration.


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WISER also discusses its utilization of their Inpatient Crisis Response System Evaluation program to perform onsite assessments of floor staff and response teams to assess the systems designed to respond to patient emergencies. Implemented at 10 UPMC hospitals across Pittsburgh, these mock codes identify latent threats to patient safety and help local safety and unit leadership to discern opportunities for improvement in policies and system design. Click here to get a free online copy of WISER’s newest Patient Safety Report.

WISER also participates in several patient safety-related events and conferences to advocate for best practices regarding simulation-based education programs. This April, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, WISER hosted the 21st annual Safar Symposium. While honoring the legacy of Dr. Peter Safar, who was the founding chair of the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research at the University of Pittsburgh and a pioneer in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and critical care medicine, leading experts share their work and research involving simulation and patient safety.

Last fall, WISER also hosted the annual Rapid Response Symposium for UPMC member hospitals. With over 140 attendees, participants came together to explore ways to enhance their hospital capabilities to identify latent threats and provide critical response capabilities to patients experiencing unintended deterioration.


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In collaboration with UPMC physicians, WISER recently participated in the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) 2024 Breast Imaging Symposium in Montreal, Canada. While at the symposium, WISER had 91 attendees participate in their unique Radiology Contrast Reaction course to teach providers in a radiology context how to navigate life-threatening situations. The Radiology Contrast Reaction course, developed by WISER, is run both locally throughout Pittsburgh and across various locations within the UPMC health system.


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Faculty and Staff Development Solutions



In addition to supporting patient safety-related initiatives, WISER also provides a variety of faculty and staff development solutions for other simulation and healthcare education centers. If you are an educator wanting to include more simulation activities in your program, but are not sure where to start, WISER’s upcoming Improving Simulation Instructional Methods (iSIM) Fundamentals course can help you! The world-renowned iSIM course is an interactive and hands-on program that provides practical instructional skills and foundational knowledge relating to scenario design, assessment tools, and debriefing techniques. This two-day program is scheduled to run from September 11-12, 2024, and more information, including registration, can be found here.

WISER’s SSH Accredited Fellowship Program and Visiting Scholars Program are still accepting applicants! The Fellowship Program provides a 1-to-2-year curriculum covering the essential aspects of simulation education, while the Visiting Scholars Program offers a structured 1-to-11-month curriculum that is ideal for those with time constraints. Both programs deliver hands-on experience, mentorship, and professional development, with opportunities to observe and participate in simulation-center management. Participants of these programs work alongside WISER experts to meet their personally identified goals and objectives, so they are prepared to apply their learned knowledge and understanding when returning home. More information about WISER’s Fellowship Program and Visiting Scholars Program here.

WISER is dedicated to improving patient safety outcomes and educating the next generation of simulation specialists on best practices regarding simulation and patient safety. The programs and events that WISER supports emphasize this dedication and mirror their mission of developing innovative healthcare education programs that improve patient care outcomes. For questions regarding professional development opportunities, please contact wiserhelp@upmc.edu.

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