2012 IMSH Conference

The 12th Annual Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare took place in San Diego January 28 - February 1. The program comprised content on human factors, training curriculum and assessment, physical settings, social and team issues, new technology, enhancement of technical expertise, and quality improvement in formats designed to meet the needs of beginners and seasoned simulation experts alike.

Along with new and enhanced programs and product solutions the goal is to help doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers to learn and enhance their skill sets and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.

Delegates: > 3000
Exhibitors: 33
Keynote speakers: Paul Haidet, Joe Schmid, Mark Scerbo, and Itiel Dror

Simulation plays a a crucial in
preparing for space travels.

Simulation training in relation to space travels

Keynote speaker Dr. Josef F. Schmid III, flight surgeon for the Johnson Space Center and NASA, spoke on how simulation plays a crucial role in everything related to space travels. He said that simulated extreme and worst case scenarios have unveiled system weaknesses and potential hazards, and that the adaption of findings from these sessions prepare the teams for otherwise unforeseen dangers.

In sum, NASA’s and other international space programs’ dedication to simulation has saved numerous astronauts’ lives as well as billions of dollars.

Also interesting was learning about the strange physiologic responses the body demonstrates when in equilibrium. An eye-opener for Laerdal was how to perform effective chest compressions in space. Despite an obvious lack of research on the topic, standing in the ceiling seemed the preferred choice for this space-walking astronaut.

Shouldn't technology make simulation easier?

Mr. Blaze Kyzer from the Simulation Center at University of South Carolina discussed how mastering a combination of simulation gear from various manufacturers will improve a simulation center's learning efficiency. His conclusion raises the question of whether there ought to be more standardization among Laerdal and its competitors with regards to technical aspects like scenario files, debrief formats and wireless communication. As customers oftentimes purchase different brands of simulators, they would certainly welcome such an agreement.

In situ simulations for non-code nursing staff

Nurse colleagues Krista Kipper and Gail Johnson demonstrated findings following several years of in situ simulation at Regions Hospital, Minnesota where they provide in situ, high fidelity simulated codes for interdisciplinary staff, prior to code team arrival. The simulations are facilitated during night shifts.

The topic engaged the crowd tremendously. Many delegates raised interesting questions and shared similar experiences, like: ''The ICU nurses are the most reluctant ones to participate in the simulated codes'' (!) 

Reality TV meets simulation: so you think you can simulate?

Another popular event was a variety of reality TV-like game shows were people’s simulation skills were exposed on stage and afterwards judged by a panel of three ruthless debriefers.

SimWars, where two teams of four healthcare professionals perform the same scenario, has been running as a concept for some years now. A similar competition session called ''Iron Sim'' was demonstrated. This series, modeled after the TV show ''Iron Chef'', replaced the strange ingredients with equally strange patient cases.

''Debrief Olympics'' was yet another variety of the reality-TV-meets-simulation-concept, but now the debriefers themselves were judged! Three debriefers would assess a team of three role players seen on a video. Another set of judges then provided feedback to the debriefers and the audience reflected on their performance and feedback. At the end the audience voted for the winner.

Market trends and new solutions

Ultrasound simulation is 
generating more interest. 

Ultrasound-simulators and pinhole-surgery: Many interesting products were on display, and especially Ultrasound-simulators and pinhole-surgery trainers were abundant.

Special task trainers and WAVE: Fulfilling small, uncovered niches, such as task trainers for very specific procedures, seems like another market trend. What probably drew more attention was however the Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE), an immersive virtual reality theater with three large screens showing a 3D virtual backdrop of an Iraque village, pyrotechnics and loud sound FX, put together by the Federal Medical Simulation Training Consortium.

The ARTHRO Mentor virtual reality simulator from Simbionix allows the learner to learn and improve basic skills within the arthroscopic surgery domain. 

Jon Lærdal uses the huge demo to 
demonstrate Laerdal's new SimPad. 

New innovation from Laerdal: SimPad is the next generation VitalSim and developed to ensure that the simulations run easily and efficiently. The booth staff was extremely busy due to the huge interest around the new launch and by Sunday night most trade show attendees were seen carrying a SimPad-brochure.

The gigantic demo unit that served brilliantly as a display for larger groups also intrigued many customers. Sadly for some, the demo was however not for sale.

SimPad press release