Hospitals in western Iowa and all across Nebraska will soon have access to a high-tech training tool — a patient simulator.
It resembles a manequin but the robotic human named “Bud” can do all sorts of things, like a real patient. Dave Christensen, C.E.O. of Prairie Health Ventures, says his company purchased the high-fidelity simulator that will be shared between some 48 hospitals in the two states.
“More and more medical training is being done on patient simulators and over time, these simulators have gotten more sophisticated but also more expensive,” Christensen says. “Rural hospitals want to have access to this state-of-the-art technology for training and to provide high quality service but the price of the simulators has gotten past their ability to afford it.”
Christensen says the simulator lets health care professionals practice and gain proficiency in skills before performing them on patients. He says the simulator can be programmed to talk, sweat, bleed, cry, convulse, be resuscitated and catheterized. It can also respond to drug treatment, have reactions to medications and even suffer a heart attack.
“They do just about anything that a real patient can do and that’s the beauty of simulation training is you can get do-over’s because you’re doing it on a mannequin,” Christensen says, “but they’re realistic enough that you can do real procedures and diagnosis and things like that.”
Christensen says hospitals and medical education facilities across the region will borrow the simulator for training and then it will be shipped to another facility.
“To bring access to the latest technology at an affordable price through a shared model, we just think it makes sense for everybody to do it that way,” he says. The first training session on the simulator will be held in July at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Participating hospitals will pay a usage fee to Prairie Health Ventures.