simulation

3 Budget Hacks for Your High-Fidelity Healthcare Simulation System

3 Budget Hacks for Your High-Fidelity Healthcare Simulation System 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

Simulation Environments for Less

If you’ve ever seen a holiday blockbuster film then you’ve probably been transported to a faraway place—a planet at the outer reaches of a futuristic solar system, backstage at a rock concert, or the front lines of World War II—maybe without even realizing it was happening.

Healthcare simulation labs require a similar suspension of disbelief for students to receive a truly immersive and effective education. There is an ever-growing body of tools that can help accomplish a high-fidelity simulation environment, including manikins, AV technology, and medical devices. But creating a seamless, realistic simulation doesn’t come cheap, and most universities and other training facilities don’t have the same budget as a Hollywood studio.

So, how can you get the tools you need to create a high-fidelity simulation experience, and how do you get them on a budget? Get your popcorn ready and keep reading to find out.

3 Steps to High-Fidelity Simulation on a Budget

There are three steps to take before you make an investment in healthcare simulation technology. Following these recommendations can help save you from unnecessary expenditures, while ensuring you have the tools and technologies you actually need.

  1. Outline the objectives for your lab. You can’t choose the right technology if you haven’t defined how it will be used. Instead of your technology dictating the curriculum, the objectives should justify the technology purchase. For example, if the goal of your lab is to teach non-emergency care, such as reading vitals or placing IVs, you don’t need a $10,000 manikin. Instead you could use real people and display their vital signs on an iPad, or invest in IV arms rather than the entire manikin.
  2. Don’t be distracted by simulation tech trends. Choose solutions you need—versus those with exciting features to save on costs and to ensure your simulation faculty won’t get distracted by the technology. For example, some simulation systems include a voice changer that can make the person speaking sound like someone else. A man can sound like a woman or an adult can sound like a child. Sure, it sounds cool, but think carefully about how much and how often you would use it. If the answer is not often, then the cost outweighs the benefit. In addition, some skills such as hand-washing and gloving, as well as taking temperatures, blood sugar, and other vital signs, are better acquired through manual learning.
  3. Think twice before you choose an all-in-one solution. While in other AV environments, such as a conference room, a packaged solution is usually more cost-effective, the same isn’t necessarily true for simulation systems. An all-in-one simulation solution creates a single point of failure—if one piece of the system goes down the entire solution becomes unusable. In addition, simulation technology is changing so fast that such solutions are at risk of becoming obsolete more quickly. Replacing one outdated piece of a system is much cheaper than replacing an entire solution.

Next Steps

You also want to make sure your installation is cost-efficient but done right. Every simulation solution requires an audiovisual installation, but not many simulation providers have AV expertise. So while a quote may seem cheap, you might have to pay the same amount again—and maybe more—to an AV integration firm. With Level 3 Healthcare you get simulation and AV expertise from the same team, making Level 3’s turnkey simulation solution a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Ready to learn more from our simulation experts about how to effectively choose and operate simulation solutions? Register for our Ultimate Simulation Boot Camp today.

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology?

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology? 2000 1226 Level 3 Healthcare

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology?

Just as medicine continues to advance, healthcare simulation—and the standards that govern it—are also evolving. It’s important that healthcare organizations keep up, but how do you know when and what parts of your simulation technology should be upgraded?

How to Tell It’s Time for Something New

Before you can decide how extensive of an upgrade your existing simulation AV requires, you need to know how to identify if and when an upgrade is required. Here are some symptoms of an aging or ailing simulation system:

  1. Users wish it did more. Faculty, staff, administrators, and other users should continually evaluate the simulation system and make note of features and tools that don’t meet their needs or expectations. Your audiovisual (AV) system provider or integrator might be able to address some of them. The rest will be critical data points when designing the next iteration of your simulation system.
  2. You plan to scale. There are two components to successful scalability. The first is whether your current system can grow with your program as it expands and evolves. For example, your current AV capabilities may not support your plans to expand. The second component of scalability is whether your existing solutions are compatible with newer technologies. At some point, those older technologies won’t be available for replacement anymore. If you are facing frequent compatibility issues, it’s time for an upgrade.
  3. You have trouble managing and maintaining it. If you don’t have AV experts on staff who can help you maintain and update your simulation solution, consider upgrading to a system that is easier to care for and that offers ongoing management and maintenance.

If you have discovered that you need an upgrade, how do you decide what kind of upgrade you need?

 

Renovation vs. Refresh: Which Do You Need?

A refresh means replacing and upgrading outdated equipment that’s part of your simulation system. Computers usually become obsolete in about five years, and the same is also true of your core AV systems. If your simulation system can support your projected growth but needs new peripherals or components, a simple refresh is enough to bring it up to date.

A renovation not only upgrades components that need to be repaired or replaced, it also expands features and functionalities, enabling your system to be compatible with future growth and needs. A renovation is an investment. Taking shortcuts that don’t address core shortfalls in your simulation system or improve user outcomes will ultimately cost more. To best plan for a renovation, you should: start documenting issues that impact the effectiveness of your program; assess whether or not your system can scale to meet your planned and desired system growth, and; get advice from experts and plan for the long term.

 

Next Steps

Whether you are undertaking a simple refresh or preparing for an extensive simulation renovation, input from AV experts is key to your success. The simulation experts at Level 3 Healthcare are here to help. Schedule a consultation today.

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size 1900 1082 Level 3 Healthcare

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size

There are plenty of times when size matters. A bite-sized candy bar won’t always satisfy a sweet tooth and a small business can’t always compete with larger players in their industry. For healthcare simulation programs, however, even a small team with limited funding can succeed just as well as their bigger counterparts. The key is to follow industry-designated best practices.

The International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) recently released Standards of Best Practice for Simulation. Adhering to the standards of operation in particular can make any size simulation program sustainable, while also increasing the return on the investment made in simulation technology; improving outcomes, and; bringing students, educators, and leaders closer to their goals and objectives.

Best Practices to Support Your Small Simulation Program

  1. Define a strategic plan. With an easy-to-follow plan that clearly outlines goals, roles and responsibilities, and desired outcomes, a simulation program can run smoothly even with a small staff. Also address plans for on-the-job training, program evaluation, and how to measure ROI and justify ongoing expenditures. Develop a communications strategy and make provisions for equipment maintenance and replacement.
  2. Empower personnel. Every team member should have the training necessary to set up, operate, and maintain simulation equipment independently if needed. Others who use the equipment—such as educators and trainers—should also be trained to operate it independently. This ensures there is no interruption in simulations and helps relieve some of the pressure on a small team that may already be stretched thin.
  3. Create a management system. In addition to an overarching strategic plan, every simulation-based education program needs a day-to-day plan for scheduling rooms, prioritizing requests, managing operator availability, and setting up and breaking down equipment for simulation exercises. Written instructions for each scenario help ensure operators know what to do and that everyone is following the same system so that educators and students can meet their instructional objectives. Periodically review and seek user feedback on the system to improve as needed.
  4. Manage the budget carefully. The budget requirements of a simulation-based education program go beyond the initial investment in tools and technology. Consider training and operational costs, such as staff salaries. Equipment costs include maintenance, repair, and replacement expenses. Simulation operators can also consider income opportunities to support the program. For example, they can rent the simulation space when it’s not being used internally.
  5. Align the program with organizational goals. The simulation program should be guided by the needs and goals of the organization as a whole. This will increase leadership buy-in and might also allow you to tap into personnel and budgetary resources from other programs or departments. Communicating with stakeholders and participating in initiatives across departments will help integrate the simulation program into the larger organization’s mission, goals, and operation.
  6. Develop sustainable policies and procedures. Create guidelines for everyone people who might use the lab, including instructors, students, visitors, volunteers, etc. Document easy-to-follow guidelines for processes and procedures like data collection and storage, as well as safety information and scheduling guidelines.

Next Steps

Even if your team is small, there are additional resources at your disposal. Our Level 3 Healthcare team can answer your questions, assist in implementing your plan, and help your simulation program succeed. Schedule a consultation today.

Simulation Provides Low-Cost, Low-Risk Nurse Training

Simulation Provides Low-Cost, Low-Risk Nurse Training 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

Simulation Provides Low-Cost, Low-Risk Nurse Training

Nurses are known for how busy they are since patient needs often can’t wait. And the nursing shortage means they need to focus on real patient care without the added responsibility of training students. In fact, a shortage of instructors is a big factor in why nursing schools turned away more than 56,000 qualified applicants in 2017.

Fortunately, in many instances, today’s simulation technology can take the place of clinical training in medical facilities.

The Benefits of Simulation in Nursing Training

The benefits of using simulation solutions to train nurses include:

  1. Nursing students face real scenarios. Simulation solutions allow students to practice treating patients with the same techniques they would use on real patients.
  2. They improve patient safety. With quality simulation training, nursing students can develop skills without risk to an actual patient. With recording and debriefing software, students learn what they did right and wrong in a scenario, as well as why.
  3. The training is thorough. With simulation, nursing students can train for scenarios that are rarely encountered in hospital or clinic settings but that are still important to be prepared for. In a clinical setting, illnesses and injuries are somewhat random, but in a simulated setting they can be carefully planned.
  4. Training is more efficient and cost-effective. Nursing schools can train students faster and more affordably with simulation solutions because students can test through more scenarios with fewer instructors.
  5. Nurses stay up to date. Nursing students can be easily trained in the latest medical treatments and techniques in patient care.

Simulation training can help nursing students improve their clinical skills, provide better patient care, build their confidence, and work better in teams. It’s important to have the right technology and resources in place for them to be successful.

The SIMStation Advantage

SIMStations are solutions designed specifically for medical simulations. They include all the necessary software, audio, and visual equipment needed for training, recording, and debriefing students.

In addition to providing effective, quality training of nursing students, SIMStations are economical and easy to install and help meet the needs of IT, educators, and administrators.

SIMStation solutions are flexible and upgradeable so that they grow with the institution’s nursing program—and there are even mobile options available. Developed by simulation experts, the solution contains all the tools necessary for high-quality training and for running a training room, control room, or debriefing room.

The SIMStation comes in a variety of product lines to suit the needs of any institution. There are also options for apps and management to improve the simulation experience. An experienced audiovisual partner can help institutions choose the simulation solution that best aligns with their goals.

Next Steps

Level 3 Healthcare’s team of medical engineers integrate audiovisual solutions into medical and healthcare settings. Our team can answer all your questions about simulation and also provide a free nursing school consultation. Level 3 can help you determine if the SIMStation is right for your institution. Contact us today.

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation 2000 1121 Level 3 Healthcare

3 Ways to Increase Faculty Buy-In for Simulation

Imagine someone sitting you down in the cockpit of an airplane and telling you to figure out how to fly it. Seems ridiculous, right? The technology is so daunting and complex, anyone who isn’t a trained pilot would need a lot of help to figure it out.

Sitting a faculty or staff member down in a simulation lab and telling them to run a scenario would be just as difficult and confusing for them—though probably not as terrifying

Without the proper training, simulation technology can be intimidating for educators. They can’t just sit down and figure it out. When faculty members are unsure of how to use a solution such as a simulation system, they are unlikely to support an organizational investment in it. They are also unlikely to use it even if the organization invests in the technology. However, removing common barriers, concerns, and misunderstandings faculty members face can help you improve buy-in and increase adoption of simulation solutions at your institution or organization.

Why Does Buy-In Matter?

Hospitals, clinics, and universities can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on simulation solutions, so the biggest incentive for increasing faculty buy-in for simulation is to make sure you are spending that money on tools educators want—and are therefore more likely to use. Part of improving buy-in and adoption also means addressing some other challenges simulation facility operators face, including a reluctance on the part of leadership to provide funding for equipment maintenance and upgrades. Another issue is often that there isn’t adequate staffing to run scenarios, troubleshoot issues, and provide training.

How Can You Increase Faculty Buy-In?

There are several steps simulation facilitators can take to increase faculty buy-in and adoption for simulation solutions.

  1. Explain the benefits. Incorporating simulated scenarios into their curriculum takes extra time and effort for faculty members, so they will be more likely to do it if they can see what’s in it for them. Benefits include:
    • A more comprehensive curriculum
    • Improved student performance
    • Easier assessment of student competencies
  2. Offer the necessary training. Faculty members who know how to use simulation technologies are more likely to incorporate simulation scenarios into their curriculum. Training should be offered more than once a year or semester and should include how to write and program a scenario, as well as how to run it. If faculty members understand all the capabilities of your simulation solution, it will be easier for them to develop scenarios that support their course objectives.
  3. Provide adequate support. Even faculty members who have been trained to use simulation solutions will run into problems they don’t know how to fix. If those issues take a long time to resolve, educators and learners will lose valuable time, and they’ll have a negative experience with the solution, making them less likely to want to use it again. Educators will have a better user experience and be more likely to use the simulation system again if you address their technical issues as quickly as possible. 

Next Steps

Level 3 Healthcare has a staff of simulation experts who can answer questions about everything from incorporating AV technology into medical training to designing a new simulation lab. Contact us today with your questions.

How to Solve Common Simulation Challenges

How to Solve Common Simulation Challenges 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

How to Solve Common Simulation Challenges

Simulation technology is a hot topic these days, and its popularity is only increasing. Why? Because simulation helps healthcare students and providers prepare for high stakes scenarios in a safe, low-risk environment. Simulation-enabled education and training ultimately improves provider performance and patient outcomes. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its share of unique frustrations. As more institutions incorporate simulation solutions into their training curriculums, more kinks appear that need to be worked out.

7 Common Simulation Challenges—and Their Solutions

Level 3 recently conducted a survey to identify the most common simulation challenges. Below are some of the frustrations, as well as advice from simulation experts on how to solve them.

1. Complicated policies and procedures. Simulations create data and recordings that must be stored and archived properly to avoid liability.

Solution: Creating an official policy for storage of simulation session videos, for example, can help mitigate any risks posed by storing information in the simulation lab itself. For example, all video could be forwarded to the appropriate faculty member and then deleted from the simulation lab server.

2. Exchanging information and following best practices. A lack of standardized training for simulation technology users means the exchange of lessons learned and best practices is critical—but it is also easier said than done.

Solution: Use social and professional networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn to create groups for simulation technology users.

3. Hiring and training qualified Sim Techs. The current lack of standardized training for simulation technicians can pose a challenge when you are trying to hire the most qualified person to round out your simulation team.

Solution: Focus on each individual’s capabilities rather than whether they have a specific degree. Writing a job description that matches the specific needs of your organization will also help you attract and hire the right person.

4. Adequately training staff. Allocating funds for simulation solutions isn’t money well spent if no one can operate the solution. In some cases, a lack of training and confidence may cause faculty to avoid using the solutions altogether.

Solution: In addition to setting aside money, time must also be set aside so staff members can be adequately trained and prepared to use simulation tools to their full potential.

5. Developing relevant scenarios. Having access to simulation technology can enhance the learning experience, but the capabilities of your technology shouldn’t dictate what is taught.

Solution: Educators need to identify their learning goals independent of the simulation tool and then leverage simulation technology to achieve them.

6.Improving access and connectivity. Spotty wireless connectivity in a simulation lab can be frustrating to educators, especially if they only use the simulation system once or twice a semester.

Solution: Hardwiring all the components in the lab can resolve this issue. VPN, conference calling, and remote access software can help provide remote access to scenarios, recordings, and debriefings.

7. Knowing when simulation isn’t the best solution. Manikin-based simulations are convenient and popular, but they might not be the best tool for every training scenario. Even the most thorough, thought-out simulation can’t account for everything a real patient might do.

Solution: Use all the training tools and methods available to you for the most comprehensive, realistic training experience.

 

Next Steps

Want more details about solutions to your simulation challenges and concerns? Level 3 recently hosted a webinar where our simulation experts addressed your most common frustrations and provided informed advice to resolve them. Download the webinar recording to learn more. (Password: Level3HC)