Audiovisual Integration

3 Steps You Should Take When Planning For Your Healthcare Simulation Facility

3 Steps You Should Take When Planning For Your Healthcare Simulation Facility 1000 681 Level 3 Healthcare

Building out a space for a healthcare simulation center involves much more than just finding a space and the technology to put into it. How will the technology work in the space to optimize workflows? How do you ensure the use of space and technology will be intuitive and user friendly?

There are at least 430 simulation centers in the U.S., but only a fraction of those are accredited. One reason for that may be that there are a lot of needs, standards, and best practices that are overlooked, so it’s important to make sure you know what to consider from the planning phase. Here are three key steps you can take to get your simulation facility ready for success long before it opens its doors:

  1. Select the right team.
    Be strategic when involving individuals on the planning team. Consider who the stakeholders are and who will have the knowledge and experience to make the new center succeed for years to come. Look at department heads, the clinical lab managers, faculty and simulation educators, operations staff, facility managers, and IT professionals.
    You’ll want to create a diverse team with members who have a collective knowledge of design, simulation education, operations, and technology to ensure that all stakeholder and user needs and concerns are considered.
  1. Evaluate your site and others.
    Allow the team to see what the space looks like before any work starts. Also take them to visit a variety of other healthcare simulation facilities. In visiting and connecting with other simulation users and technicians you may be surprise about how they are using emerging technologies like virtual reality and 3D printing. You may discover a need you didn’t know you had.Let them see the technologies being used by other teams, and give them the opportunity to ask what those users like as well as what they wish they had done differently.
  2. Partner with knowledgeable experts and consultants.
    When looking for outside experts, audio visual integrators, and architectural consultants, be sure to ask for their experience with projects specific to healthcare simulation. How many other healthcare simulation projects have they handled from the design phase all the way through implementation and testing? And do they provide ongoing service and support?Also ask about their knowledge of simulation education best practices. A technology integrator should understand what your organization is trying to achieve and how simulation technologies will help them achieve those goals.

Next Steps
To learn more about what you should know when beginning the planning process for a simulation facility, read the “Facility Planning & Audiovisual Technology” white paper, written by H. Michael Young, CHSE, Director of Healthcare Education & Business Development at Level 3 Healthcare. The paper takes a deeper dive into how to get your simulation facility planning off to a solid start. Learn details like what to expect at each phase of the planning process. It will also talk about other necessary steps, including defining organizational objectives, learning industry standards, creating a proposal, and securing funding.

Quality, Seamless Integration, Ease of Use, and Timely Support: What are you willing to pay?

Quality, Seamless Integration, Ease of Use, and Timely Support: What are you willing to pay? 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Several companies have benefited from a manufacturing and service model that delivers on quality and usability.  Think for a moment, when considering computer and device innovation (for example), what computer companies do you think of that fit this characterization?  When you think of simulation AV companies, do you have the same assurance as you might with, say Microsoft or Apple? In the healthcare simulation community, many seem to have either learned to accept less from their AV solution provider. For many simulationists, they find ways to work around the deficiencies of their AV solution.  However, Level 3 Healthcare recognizes that if our customers want to enjoy a higher level of quality, reliability, and objective focused solutions, money is not necessarily related.

Level 3 Healthcare/Audiovisual (L3HC/L3AV) receives requests from potential clients that want us to provide a quote for our simulation AV solutions.  Many do not have much experience with our solutions (or any AV solution provider0, but they have heard of us. I have yet to talk to anyone who has seen and used SIMStation who did not immediately grasp that our solutions are game changers for healthcare simulation debriefing and video documentation.  But for the SIMStation software to work as designed, it must be correctly integrated and configured to work with compatible hardware.  Apple and Microsoft, for example, understand this.  It took Microsoft a little longer than Apple to come to that conclusion, but now both companies design, build and sell their own combined hardware/software solutions (MS now has their Surface line of computers and accessories).  Microsoft and Apple turn-key solutions are designed to be intuitive, and the operating systems are designed for the hardware, and the hardware is designed for the software.  Not unlike L3HC’s SIMStation line of products.

Some AV integration companies have learned this as well, but because simulation AV recording and debriefing is such a specialized setup, each system must be customized for each customer.  Interestingly, Microsoft developed their operating systems, in the beginning, solely to run on other hardware manufacturers’ systems.  The user experience varied between each computer brand, even though they all had MS WindowsTM installed.  Enter the Surface line of products from MicrosoftTM.  Quality control, hand-in-glove compatibility and consistent user-experience.  Apple adopted this approach from the very beginning.  Apple users have traditionally been the biggest fans and repeat customers of Apple products. The substance of this article is not about either of these companies.  They are just examples of the good that happens when the hardware/software designs and implementations are in sync with each other.

Regarding simulation programs, the saying goes “if you have seen one simulation program, you have seen one simulation program.” Meaning, no two simulation programs are alike. Each program has different needs and objectives.  Both Apple and Microsoft discovered that each of their companies had a better chance of controlling quality and usability if they built their own computers and developed their own software.  While both offer some compatibility with third party solutions, they have been able to maintain quality and usability of the basic system.

Level 3 Healthcare’s SIMStation software solutions are paired with high quality hardware and the highest quality standards in the industry (AV9000). SIMStation is a high-end simulation AV solution, designed with debriefing in mind.  With our competitors, many are forced to try to figure out a resolution or workaround ourselves. Level 3 Healthcare gives you a direct line to our team.  Should you need our help, even if it is user error, we are available to fix it . . . often within minutes.  Do you have that kind of relationship with your AV vendor?  Do you wait days, weeks, even months for problem resolution?

Level 3 Healthcare offers a unified software and hardware solution.  We stand by our systems, and before you buy them, experienced simulation educators, operations specialists, and engineers will work with you to make sure you understand what is included in the purchase, what it can do, what it cannot do, and ensure that the solution matches your institution’s requirements.  Upon sale, delivery and installation, we want you to be pleased with your decision and ultimately enjoy quality, seamless integration, ease of use, and timely support.  After all, our best sales people are end-users.

7 Reasons to Standardize Your Simulation Technology

7 Reasons to Standardize Your Simulation Technology 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Simulation technology has become an integral part of the training and education for industries like medicine and emergency response, where the stakes are high, and errors can be costly not only financially but in patient outcomes.

Simulation technologies can be a significant investment, but standardizing these solutions can make their use more efficient and effective.

What to Standardize in Your Simulation Solution—and Why

Standardizing simulation solutions across an organization improves the experience of educators who are running the simulations as well as of students who are learning from them. It also improves the experience of other staff members like operations specialists, IT managers, and simulation technicians who may be called upon to operate the simulation solution or troubleshoot issues when they arise. Here are seven areas to consider standardizing—and why.

  1. Control stations. One teacher might use a handful of different simulation solutions across your campus or organization during a semester or school year. Precious teaching and learning time is lost if they have to reacquaint themselves with the control system every time they want to run a simulation scenario. Standardized control stations with the same computer model, operating system, mouse, keyboard and aspect ratio cut down on time spent learning how to use the system and increase time spent using it to teach students.
  2. Operational commands. Part of standardizing control stations is standardizing the commands users need to operate the system and run the scenario. Keyboard commands should be the same for every simulation tool in your organization, and every control station computer should have the same desktop shortcuts installed. In other words, there should be no difference to a user no matter which simulation tool they are running.
  3. Scenario programming. Many educators use the same scenario for each simulation session, but instead of saving the steps and outcomes, the scenario is programmed manually each time. This is a time-consuming process that also leaves room for human error. By pre-programming standard scenarios, educators can automate the process, which saves time and allows them to account for and easily address the most common student responses and outcomes. Any outcomes outside those parameters can be addressed in real time during the scenario and incorporated into the automated version later.
  4. Responses and prompts. Events during a simulation, and the outcomes of those events, should play out organically to some degree, but many events and outcomes can be organized and standardized on the simulator software menu. For example, generic responses given by the manikin such as “yes,” “no,” and “I don’t know” could be grouped together under a single menu heading. This kind of standardization also simplifies the operation of the simulator, allowing educators to pay more attention to what students are doing and how they are reacting.
  5. Simulation training and education. Simulation solutions are increasingly common in higher education settings, but the training for how to operate simulation solutions is not yet standardized across the industry. Training ranges from on-the-job learning to professional certificates to master’s degrees in clinical simulation. Providing a clear and standardized path for your employees to receive training on operating simulation solutions will help ensure a uniform, quality experience for everyone involved in operating, teaching with, and learning from a simulation tool.
  6. Simulation technician role. One of the easiest and best ways to ensure your simulation solutions are installed, operated, and maintained correctly is to designate a simulation technician within your organization. A designated simulation technician will take the burden off IT staff or operations specialists who have taken on simulation solutions as an additional duty. A dedicated simulation technician can also ensure standardization of simulation tools across your organization.
  7. Results tracking. If simulation systems are standardized across your organization, you can much more easily track comparable results and outcomes across your organization, and quickly adjust scenarios and processes as needed.  

Next Steps

Standardizing or, at the very least, integrating simulation solutions across your organization will lead to a richer experience for the teachers and students who use them. Designating one person, with the proper training and necessary availability, to manage the operation of simulation solutions across your organization is a critical step toward that standardization. Level 3 can help you do both. Level 3 Audiovisual simulation technology integrators can get you started with the right hardware and software. And Level 3 training and certification opportunities can ensure your simulation technicians are qualified to operate and manage those solutions.

Introducing Pulse IDM, A 24/7 SIMStation Monitoring Option

Introducing Pulse IDM, A 24/7 SIMStation Monitoring Option 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Why Healthcare Simulation Technology Is Vital

The first time a doctor has to resuscitate a patient, there’s a lot less riding on the outcome if the patient was never alive to begin with. Simulation training in healthcare allows students to learn with less pressure and more opportunities to hone their skills before they use them in a real healthcare setting.

Simulation systems are made up of numerous components that require monitoring, management, and maintenance. Your IT department can handle all of this for your organization’s simulation labs, or you can use a service that provides intelligent monitoring.

Without sufficient monitoring, devices can fail, resulting in canceled classes, blown schedules, and training plans falling behind. Organizers must reschedule classes, and with 15 to 20 students and observers in each class, equipment failure can be extremely disruptive.

A dedicated monitoring solution will prevent ill-timed device failures and provide more timely resolution should something go wrong.

 

Keeping Your Simulation Solution Healthy

If one of the cameras stops working in your simulation lab or center, will you know it before someone tries to use it? Will you know if it has simply gone offline or if only it is the device that has stopped responding? Is it experiencing an error?

Proactive monitoring will help prevent interruptions and delays often by correcting issues before anyone at the facility is even aware there was an issue. To find a solution that can be thorough, effective, and proactive, look for these features:

  • Secure communications
  • System updates
  • Automated failure recovery
  • Trends and utilization reporting
  • Customization and add-ons
  • Monitoring all simulation station hardware and software

The right solution for your organization will depend on the size of your simulation programs, the capacity of your internal resources, and the importance of your programs functioning and staying online at all times.

Specialized Intelligent Device Monitoring

The Level 3 Audiovisual intelligent device monitoring (IDM) solution—Pulse—has been specifically designed to monitor the SIMStation product. The solution often includes a simulation lab or room, a control room, and a debriefing room where students and teachers can evaluate what happened in the simulations.

The simulation room will feature devices like multiple cameras, microphones, and a speaker system. The control room will contain a compact server-case to house AV technology, recording software that is controlled by touchscreens, and a microphone for communication with other rooms. The debriefing room contains necessary software, displays for reviewing recordings, and a SIMStation tablet for control.

The Pulse monitoring device is a small appliance that monitors only the devices in your simulation rooms. It communicates securely to the Level 3 Audiovisual data center through an outbound connection, thereby eliminating firewall concerns. The monitoring center’s servers are not on the cloud but self-hosted at the center where the servers analyze incoming data, and technicians can immediately respond to issues.

From resetting devices to their default or standard settings—like mic volume, camera position, etc.—to arranging an on-site support visit, Pulse services monitor and address device performance issues. The goal is to minimize problems that would affect the client’s use of the SIMStation and reach a resolution more quickly.

Since Pulse is specifically designed to monitor SIMStation devices and software, it can more efficiently identify and address issues.

 

Next Steps

The Pulse IDM solution for SIMStation requires little to no interaction from the end user and eliminates the need for the IT department to monitor and maintain the hardware and software thus improving ROI of the simulation solution. Plus, the organization can confidently keep their training and simulation programs running smoothly and on time.

Contact us below if you have any questions about SIMStation or remote monitoring solutions.

How Do You Get Certified for Simulation?

How Do You Get Certified for Simulation? 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

Getting certified for simulation isn’t what you think.

Simulation certification is still very new to Healthcare. As the simulation community has grown, defining the standards to ensure someone is qualified to perform a specific task has been at times, challenging. Since healthcare simulation centers can be found in pre-hospital programs, hospital-based programs, nursing schools, and medical schools the challenge is setting standards for certification that can be applied to all the different job environments. As the profession for simulation technicians and specialist has grown so has the movement to establish this group within the structure of simulation programs. Typically, physicians, nurses, and educators have filled most of the roles in a simulation center.

In May 2015, I had the opportunity to take the Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS) exam. I met the application requirements and passed the exam. I joined approximately 60 others having this certification on a national level. I also have the privilege of being part of the committee to define the standards for CHSOS. Since then I have received many inquires into how the certification has benefited my work.

Why do I need a certification?

A simple job search for healthcare simulation jobs will bring you to a list of potential employment opportunities. The majority of these jobs require prior experience or education in a healthcare simulation program. For someone looking for new employment opportunities or trying to improve their knowledge and demonstrate competency, becoming certified is a step in the right direction. The same reason for pursing certification would apply if you were seeking a job as an electrician or an Emergency Medical Technician, you must be able to demonstrate needed knowledge and skills for the position you are seeking. Currently certifications are offered by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). The certifications are broken down for different specialties. For the educator, Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) and for the operations specialist, Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist (CHSOS).

What benefits does certification provide?

As with any specialized job, having a certification greatly benefits you as a job seeker, and will also benefit the employer by your ability to demonstrate a higher knowledge for the position. Pursuing certification allows you to be exposed to subjects and different methods you may have not been previously exposed to during your employment, bringing you out of your normal comfort zone. Each simulation center is different, and therefore the centers cannot cover all methods or technology available on the market. Being exposed to new ideas, best-practices, and technology will only increase your knowledge, skill set and awareness. Overall the healthcare simulation community has not officially adopted the certification to be a “requirement” for employment. However, I have come across many job postings specifically mentioning CHSE, CHSOS for preferred candidate background. The medical community values higher education, advanced licensures and specialists. Certification allows you to stand out from the crowd. Another potential benefit of certification is higher pay. Certification may allow you to seek higher compensation from your employer for completing advanced knowledge and skills. Wages for the simulation technician have not been on par with the level of education, and training that has been typically required for the positions. This subject continues to be discussed on a national level. Adding a certification to your CV will only help you with current and future employment opportunities.

Are there any other options for advanced training, education, or certifications?

There are several options when pursuing additional training, education, or certification. There are several colleges looking at implementing associates degree programs for simulation technicians. The University of Akron[1] is looking to add a 2-year degree in “Healthcare Simulation Technology,” focused on developing students for a role as a simulation technician. The program was expected to start in Spring 2016. There are several university’s offering a Masters-level degree, but there are very few options for Bachelors or Associates degrees.

Attending local and national conferences is another avenue to receiving advanced training. There are many conferences to choose from; some are industry led others are provided by healthcare organizations. Before attending, research what the classes and content will cover. Look for any certifications that are offered or if any prep-classes for certification exams will take place. It is important to remember attending a conference requires approval, funding, and transportation. Like many centers, staff may only be allowed a limited number of conferences per year. Planning and doing your research will ensure you receive the most relevant certification for the type of work you are seeking. If you do not find the conferences offer enough training, or information, take the time to provide that feedback to the organizers for future planning.

There are specialized courses being offered for simulation technician training from Wiser, United Heart Training Center, and Northwestern University, to name a few. Costs vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on length and location. The length of courses ranges from a few days to a several weeks. Most of the courses provide a certificate for attending. These courses can provide information in preparing for the CHSOS certification exam. It is not a requirement to attend these classes prior to applying for the CHSOS exam.

It is important to remember that nothing is guaranteed by receiving a certification. There are many options for training, education, and seeking an industry-backed certification. Explore all options available to you. Being involved with healthcare simulation we all know learning never stops. We should all strive to achieve more within our chosen professions.

[1] http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/sns-tns-bc-health-simulation-degree-20150924-story.html

Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation

Navigating AV Systems in Healthcare Simulation 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

“How much training do I need to operate the AV system?”

This is the first question I asked myself when starting at a healthcare simulation center. From working with patient simulator’s and skill trainers to programming vital signs and scenario’s, healthcare simulation can have a big learning curve for those just starting out in this field. The area I felt needed the majority of focus was navigating AV systems in healthcare simulation.

Before I started in my career in simulation I had a pretty good understanding of the many A/V components that are commonly used in simulation centers. I knew the difference between an HDMI, and VGA cable, I setup my own entertainment system, and even connected a Wi-Fi camera for my home. But I quickly found myself asking, “What is a DSP (Digital Signal Processor), a signal converter, PTZ camera, among other things”? The list of components and knowledge needed seemed to continuously grow, while every upgrade and new purchase required more learning and understanding.

My first experience working a portable video-capture system unfortunately was not a positive one. Frequent failures and phone-calls to tech support only further cemented the feeling that I lacked the training to successfully use this technology. Could it really be this difficult to use? Is the problem the equipment or is it user-error? These questions circled in my head for weeks on end. I researched different degrees to increase my knowledge in this area. Pursuing an additional degree is an option however A/V is just one part of healthcare simulation. I often hear the expression “we use the experts in different areas to provide specific knowledge, as it would be impossible to know everything.” I decided to take a different approach and use the resources provided by experts in this field.

Technology plays a very important role in simulation. While the benefits are widely known, we often see the frustrations and problems when the technology we need to do our jobs fails us. However, I quickly learned that having a complex A/V setup doesn’t mean the answer will also be complex. Communication and training are key to ensuring a smooth operation. Having a company send out not only an expert in A/V but also be a great teacher can be the difference between success and failure. What good is all that knowledge if it is not shared with those who need it most; the ones working in the day-to-day operations?

When presented with a training on a A/V system here are some important questions to ask:

  1. What can I do before I call tech support? Having a checklist will aid in trouble-shooting. Sometimes the answer is turning the power off, and then back on.
  2. What are the common problems that may arise from this setup? Know where problems are likely to occur can help find a solution quicker.
  3. If you do not understand, ASK! Assuming to know what each equipment and function is will only add to frustration when trouble-shooting later.

When dealing with an A/V system it is important to remember that issues will happen from time to time. No system is perfect. Although additional training/degree will always benefit you, it is not required to be able to trouble-shoot a problem. Taking the time to setup on-site training, ask questions, and always pursue additional learning will ensure continued success in the years to come.