July 1, 2024By Remy Roe, Phd

Enhancing Healthcare Simulation Education: How to Advocate for Innovative Products

In the field of healthcare simulation, staying current with the latest technology to provide learners with the most effective and immersive educational experiences is crucial. Conferences like IMSH, SimOps, or SimGHOSTS offer an excellent way to discover innovative products that can enhance a healthcare simulation center’s curriculum. However, for the average healthcare simulation operations specialist, the task of convincing leadership to invest in these tools can present a challenge. This article by Rémy Roe, PhD, will discuss strategies that help any member of a team advocate for the implementation of a product encountered at a conference through four steps: identify the need, gather support, consider financial aspects, and present a fact-based case.

Identify the Need for a New Clinical Simulation Product

Clearly identify the need or problem the product addresses. At SimOps in July, or SimGHOSTS in August, attendees will have the opportunity to explore the latest advancements in healthcare simulation technology. The purchase and subsequent incorporation of innovative products discovered in the exhibition hall could address a specific issue faced by a healthcare simulation center, such as limited realism in certain scenarios. Some products may even have the potential to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in simulation scenarios through the representation of a wider range of patient demographics, cultural competency, or the promotion of empathy.

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To build a strong case for investment in an innovative product, gathering support from experts and users who have experience with the product is vital. Include expert opinions from renowned professionals in the field, and highlight their endorsement of the product and the potential impact on healthcare simulation education. Remember that conferences offer an excellent time to network.

Maybe the pediatrics fellow that a simulation operations specialist met at a presentation can come check out that new airway trainer for future use in pediatric simulations. User testimonials can also be incredibly valuable, as they provide real-world examples of how the product has enhanced clinical simulation experiences and improved learner outcomes. Ask around for testimonials from healthcare simulation centers or institutions that have successfully implemented the product.

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Ask vendors questions like: “What challenges or feedback have you received from customers, and what have you done to implement them?” The versatility of a new product is another key point. Can multiple users or groups (like medical students, PA students, and residents) use this product, or does the product have potential applications in various simulation scenarios (like emergency medicine, surgery, pediatrics, or obstetrics)? By highlighting a broad range of users and applications, any member of a clinical simulation team can demonstrate the value of the investment to leadership.

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Financial Considerations to Be Made in New Healthcare Simulation Product Purchase

To advocate for the purchase of a new product, presentation of a detailed cost breakdown to leadership is crucial. The total cost of new equipment includes not only the upfront costs but also warranties, service plans, and consumables. Provide a comprehensive breakdown of these costs, and include any expenses, like installation. While the initial investment may seem significant, it is important to consider the long-term benefits for the simulation center.

One way to justify the expense is to calculate the cost per use. By dividing the total cost by the estimated number of learners who will benefit from the product over the product’s lifespan, the value of the investment is demonstrated. Remember to note any potential budgetary or revenue generation benefits, such as reduced consumable expenses, increased learner capacity, or the ability to offer new programs or services. Does a “cost per use” analysis present an opportunity to bill a user or group?

This could result in a healthcare simulation center purchasing the product, but users cover the cost of use over time. Are there any available deals or discounts that can make the investment more attractive? Ask vendors about promotions, bulk discounts, or finance options. A comprehensive financial analysis helps leadership understand the true value of the product and the potential return on investment.

Present a Fact-Based Case to Healthcare Simulation Leaders

To effectively communicate the value of this new product to your leadership, an essential component is a fact-based presentation. One option is to have a clear and concise slide deck that highlights the key points of the product(s). Use graphics and images to illustrate the product’s features and benefits. Consider videos or interactive demonstrations to showcase the product in action. In addition to the slide deck, prepare a video conference presentation for remote delivery.

Practice the presentation to ensure effective and persuasive communication of points. Anticipate potential questions or concerns from leadership and prepare thoughtful responses in advance. Throughout the presentation, emphasize the need for the product and how the product aligns with the goals and objectives of the healthcare simulation center.

Highlight benefits for learners, such as improved comprehension, increased engagement, and enhanced skill development. Discuss the potential impact on the healthcare simulation center, such as increased learner capacity, enhanced reputation, and the ability to attract new user-groups. Finally, address the financial considerations and potential return on investment. Present the cost breakdown and cost per use analysis, and highlight any potential budgetary or revenue generation opportunities. Emphasize the long-term value of the investment and how this can position the healthcare simulation center as a leader in the provision of up-to-date clinical simulation experiences.

This article by Dr. Rémy Roe discussed strategies that help any member of a team advocate for the implementation of a product encountered at a conference. Advocation for the purchase and implementation of an innovative product in a healthcare simulation center requires a strategic and persuasive approach. If a member of a clinical simulation team identifies a need, gathers support from experts and users, considers financial aspects, and presents a fact-based case, leadership will appreciate that investment in the product has the potential to significantly enhance clinical simulation education and learner outcomes. The acquisition of innovative products will provide learners with more realistic, immersive, and diverse educational experiences and position that healthcare simulation center as a leader in the field. Staying current with the latest advancements in simulation technology ensures that learners are well-prepared to face the challenges of real-world healthcare and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

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