Cutting Edge Patient Simulation Lab Innovates to Save Lives

Jun 27, 2011, 16:30 ET from Kaiser Permanente

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CLEVELAND, June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente Ohio has launched an innovative new Patient Simulation Lab where clinicians can train with life-size robot mannequins that mimic real human health responses. These new tools will drive critical learning needed to discover high value practices that help save lives.

"What we've done is create a safe environment where learning can take place," said Brenda Peralta, Regional Lead – Nursing Education and Competency at Kaiser Permanente Ohio.

Simulation training gives Kaiser Permanente Ohio clinicians an opportunity to expand and enhance their clinical skills in a realistic environment and prepare for emergencies they may not see every day.

"We've found that people who have completed simulation training found it extremely helpful," said Peralta. "We've already made process changes that saved members' lives."

In 2008 the Kaiser Permanente Ohio team participated in a simulation training that led them through the response procedures for a patient with malignant hyperthermia, a rare, but life-threatening condition that is triggered by exposure to certain drugs used for general anesthesia.  Just a few weeks later, this training helped the Ohio team diagnose and treat a man suffering from this condition, saving his life.

The new lab houses six high-tech robots that are modeled in ages from newborn to adult. Their audio/visual capabilities include talking, breathing, bleeding, seizing, sweating, moving, blinking and giving birth.

"The simulators make things so real that you almost forget they're not a real patient," said Peralta.

The robots are so sophisticated, they can respond dynamically to the treatment they are given by the clinicians – similar to their real-life counterparts. If the team takes the right steps, the robot patient improves. Conversely, the wrong move will worsen the robot patient's condition.

When these faux treatments are conducted, the entire simulation is broadcasted in real-time to a separate classroom where it is recorded. The lab captures other key elements of a hospital environment as well by having a fully featured Emergency Department, Clinical Decision Unit Department, and an exam room, all of which are equipped with cameras that are monitored by a two-way mirror in a control room.

After the simulation has been completed, participants return to the classroom to watch the recording and debrief. By examining their performance, the team can further perfect the care they expect to give in the future.

"Simulation training is so important to a health care setting," said Peralta.

About Kaiser Permanente Ohio

In northeast Ohio, Kaiser Permanente addresses the health care needs of approximately 130,000 members in a nine county area. Services are provided by more than 180 Ohio Permanente Medical Group physicians, 3,000 network affiliated physicians and more than 1,900 non-physician employees. In 2011, Kaiser Permanente of Ohio celebrates 47 years of providing care in Northeast Ohio.

SOURCE Kaiser Permanente