Healthcare Simulation

Is It Time to Upgrade Your Simulation Technology?

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

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A refresh means replacing and upgrading outdated equipment that’s part of your simulation system.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.

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.

Case Study: University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah

Case Study: University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah 2000 1278 Level 3 Healthcare

Level 3 Healthcare successfully implemented SIMStation into a four-year University Simulation Center in Provo, Utah. This center was a retrofit from an existing AV system, and Level 3 Healthcare was brought in to add a new dimension of user feedback, as well as, provide the newest technology the industry has to offer.

This Simulation Center includes a total of seventeen rooms. Six simulation rooms for capturing and using manikins, five standardized patients or OSCE exam rooms, six control stations in a centralized control room, as well as, six debriefing rooms where participants can watch the event live or playback for review, after completion.

This Simulation Center is utilizing Level 3 Healthcare’s newest web-based software interface, allowing for the seamless integration between patient exam rooms and simulation training rooms while also providing flexibility for access anywhere in the center through their network. A tablet version of SIMStation was integrated by the Level 3 Healthcare team, allowing for annotations, bookmarks, and making the software readily available for debriefing.

The L3HC team brought over 22 years of experience and, with the help of their in-house subject matter experts, was able to design a state-of-the-art facility complete with high definition PTZ cameras, wireless microphones, full tablet connectivity, mannequin control, vital sign capture, and voice modulation devices, which allow for educators to change the voice of a mannequin to be a man, woman, child, or create a completely new voice. With this solution, the university was able to greatly improve their workflow management and increase their technology capabilities for years to come.

The simulation facility included:

SIMULATION ROOMS (6 TOTAL)

Each simulation room consists of two (2) PTZ cameras with zoom, two (2) encoders for capturing vital signals or other compatible video devices and includes a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space. Each room will use an OFE speaker wall plate for connecting a portable speaker for in-room Voice of Patient (VOP), and one (1) wireless microphone. The wireless microphone can also be used for private communication between the control room and the simulation room.

EXAM ROOMS (5 TOTAL)

Exam rooms each include two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom, a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space, an OFE speaker wall plate for connecting a portable speaker for in-room Voice of Patient (VOP), and one (1) wireless microphone. The wireless microphone can also be used for private communication between the control room and the exam room.

OPEN BED LAB (2 TOTAL)

The open bed labs consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. Each lab has a single ceiling microphone and a ceiling speaker for communication from control space.

WET/DRY TRAINING ROOM (2 TOTAL)

Each room is equipped with a client provided display to allow for live viewing of the training rooms. Wet room 1 shall consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. Each room includes a single ceiling microphone and a single ceiling speaker for communication from control space.

MED STATION (HALLWAY)

The med station in the hallway shall consist of four (4) PTZ cameras with optical zoom, one (1) ceiling speaker and one (1) ceiling microphone for communication from control space.

CONTROL STATION 1-SIMULATION ROOMS (4 TOTAL)

Each control space shall consist of a touch PC to run SIMStation software and control cameras and source selection. Two (2) desktop microphones shall be provided allowing an operator to speak to the simulation room, a confidant via their earbuds, or VOP. Desktop speakers are provided as well as three (3) headphone ports for discrete listening. A tablet is available for each station to remotely add notes to simulations. Each control station will include a telephone capture device. A voice changer device will be included for each control station. This will allow for voice modification to the connected room.

CONTROL STATION 2 EXAM ROOM RECORDING (1 TOTAL)

This control space shall consist of a dual touchscreen system with PC to run SIMStation multi-room software and control cameras and source selection. This station is specific to OSCE or multi-room type capture where all exam rooms shall be captured at one time. Two (2) desktop microphones shall be provided allowing an operator to speak to the simulation room, a confidant via their earbuds, or VOP. Desktop speakers are provided as well as three (3) headphone ports for discrete listening. A tablet is available for each station to remotely add notes to simulations. Each control station will include a telephone capture device. A voice changer device will be included for each control station. This will allow for voice modification to the connected room.

HEAD END SYSTEM

The head end system shall consist of a server-grade PC to transcode video, audio, and act as a central storage device for an interim period. All IP switches and audio processing shall also be housed at this head end rack. A rack is provided, but equipment can be integrated into an existing IT rack if enough space is available. Central network location to be determined later.

DEBRIEFING ROOM (4 TOTAL)

Each debriefing space is equipped with a client provided display to allow participants to view the debriefing software. Inputs to the display are the debriefing PC by default. Each debriefing space will consist of one (1) PTZ camera with optical zoom. Debriefing room 1 will consist of two (2) PTZ cameras with optical zoom. This will be controlled via the provided tablet or wireless mouse/keyboard. An HDMI input plate is also provided for each room for auxiliary input sources. This will automatically take over the debriefing PC when plugged in. Ceiling speakers are provided to cover the entire room evenly with audio.

DECOMMISSION OF EQUIPMENT

32-hours for the decommissioning of existing audiovisual equipment in simulation rooms, exam rooms, control room, and server closet.

TRAINING

Two (2) days of on-site training by certified L3HC staff.

PULSE IDM

3-year SIMStation Monitoring Service

 

For more information about this project, or pursuing a project for your own simulation lab. Please call 1-877-777-5328.

4 Ways to Optimize Time as an Operation Specialist

4 Ways to Optimize Time as an Operation Specialist 2000 1333 Level 3 Healthcare

A new hire, a simulation technician for an undergraduate simulation program, attended a manikin vendor’s class on programming scenarios.  She had already been working for many years in various IT roles, so learning the technology used in simulation was an exciting opportunity. The course was attended by over 15 nursing and EMT educators; they were almost salivating at the possibility of one day getting “their own” technician.  These educators had become keenly aware of the demands placed on them in addition to the courses they taught and related responsibilities, and now they were learning a relatively new technology. Before leaving, the simulation technician received several polite invitations to come work for their programs; in the same breath of the invitation was the expression of frustration that they did not have the funds or administrative will to further staff the simulation facility. 

Fortunately, the role of the simulation operations specialist (OS) has evolved quite a bit. Technicians can now earn professional certification in their field (CHSOS) and enjoy key leadership’s appreciation of the importance of the role—so the “will” now exists.  Salaries for the OS roles has improved but not enough to keep their OSs more than two or three years (generally speaking).  When an operations specialist leaves their job, they take their skills, knowledge and experience with them, often leaving a void in the program. 

So, how can simulation program leadership keep their highly qualified operations specialists from moving on to another simulation job? Time.  Time is the most valuable commodity for anyone, but it is also relatively cheap to distribute that commodity in a way that provides value to the simulation program, the operations specialist, and of course, leadership. Even if the budget doesn’t allow for a career-worthy salary, professional development and the time to do it provides a lot of value and satisfaction to the operations staff.  So, how can leadership enrich the operations specialists’ jobs? 

Protected Time 

This may seem strange for what often passes as an entry-level job for many simulation technicians. Providing protected time gives staff the breathing room, during the work week to read articles, simulation books, perhaps write blog posts or engage in discussions with other simulation professionals on organizational forums.  How does this benefit the simulation program? If the OS is not squandering their time playing online games or working a cross-word puzzle, then he/she can learn about new ideas, innovations, develop relationships with other OSs at other simulation programs.  We live in a connected community, so the time we protect can encourage a connection with the greater simulation community. These connections produce opportunities for mentoring, whether your OS is mentored, or is mentoring, either provides an opportunity for professional growth. 

Staff Training 

So many times, educators are invited to attend on-campus training provided by vendors for new simulation equipment, but the simulation technician is not invited.  Such courses are usually limited to a dozen or less, so leadership makes sure that the educators are first in line.  Hard to believe.  The hope is that the faculty “buy-in” to simulation by attending such courses, and for some, it is the nudge that they need.  However, it can also harden faculty resolve to not adopt simulation.  Simulation program leadership would do well to adopt a policy to train superusers first, and they will pass their knowledge on to educators and staff who want to learn more. It doesn’t take long for an OS or simulation technician to become discouraged when they are left out of valuable training.  To avoid frustrating staff, they should be included in training opportunities and be valued as a resource for busy educators who have no desire to dig into the technology itself, but rather want their students to learn.  The educators can then focus their expertise on scenario design and participant assessment/evaluation. 

Time to Learn, Time to Teach 

Too often faculty show up in the control room and communicate their intentions about the simulation activity—sometimes as it is being facilitated. This is a poor practice and only demonstrates the need for consumers of the simulation resources to learn about best practices, and to understand the role of the operations specialist in assisting subject-matter experts (faculty). A simulation technician should be extended the courtesy of having time to learn about the objectives of a scenario, and perhaps even participate in the development of the activity.  Such an intimate knowledge of the scenario and expectations of the educator will improve everyone’s experience.   

Some programs have policies and procedures that prescribe the appropriate amount of lead time and knowledge needed before a scenario can be validated as ready for implementation.  Many programs require at least a week or two to develop a scenario concept into a finished scenario. Other programs recognize that a large undergraduate program with dozens if not hundreds of educators may overwhelm a small staff with constant preparation and validation of new scenarios. Consequently, at least one program required that all scenario design requests not be fulfilled until the following term. 

Many operations specialists find themselves becoming teachers.  Whether the OS teaches new faculty and staff about the simulation technologies and operational policies, or they are called upon to oversee and teach students about the various skills prescribed in the curriculum.  All of this takes time, and without that time it is difficult for anyone to be prepared to engage in such activities.  Preparation time should be built into everyone’s schedule, including the operations specialists. 

With the development of the Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist exam(s), subject-matter experts in operations and technology insisted that some knowledge of instructional design concepts be assessed, even for those who are not expected, or allowed, to “teach.” The realization was that technicians could better support educators if they understood the theories behind the activities being planned. Ultimately, an experienced OS will teach—probably informally, but nevertheless they will teach learners, for example, how to use virtualized scenarios on PCs, teach new staff about the operations of the center, and perhaps even write policies and procedures recommendations. An understanding of educational concepts will improve their chances for success. 

In Conclusion 

The time has come where entry-level technicians and experienced operations specialists know they must plan for their careers.  Up until recently, there were not many opportunities to nurture their careers to be anything more than a low-level technician. Not all operations specialists or technicians are fresh out of school, more and more specialists are older and transitioning into another phase of their lives.  Because there are not many formal pathways for earning a degree to prepare for the role of an operations specialist, and those that do exist are limited to a certificate or associates degree. For operations specialists that have been working in that role for a while, the idea that the CHSOS requires a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) is offensive.  They are already doing the work, why go into debt to learn what they have already learned?  However, for the future of the role to become a professional pathway to a fulfilling career, young adults may not learn everything on the job. Courses and degrees, just as provided for other professions (such as accountants, educators and technologists) will be necessary to give a clear pathway and evidence of expertise.  Combined with experience over time, the professionalization of the simulation technician can be realized. 

6 Standards for Simulation Programs of Any Size

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

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

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

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.

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.

4 Ways Simulation Technicians Add Value To Your Organization

4 Ways Simulation Technicians Add Value To Your Organization 1500 1001 Level 3 Healthcare

In a real life medical emergency, wasting time becomes a matter of life and death. In a simulated medical emergency an actual life isn’t on the line but wasted time can still be damaging. If an educator has to spend time on setting up the system, troubleshooting the system, or fixing glitches, time is taken away from critical teaching and learning. Simulation scenarios might be rushed or missed altogether if teachers spend the bulk of their time just trying to get a simulation system to work.

As institutions of higher learning—particularly those involved in medical training—increasingly incorporate simulation tools into their curriculums, investing in a dedicated technician to ensure the system runs smoothly is more important than ever.

4 Benefits You Get From A Simulation Technician  

Educators, IT pros and operations specialists often find themselves responsible for the operation and maintenance of simulation tools under the category of “other duties as assigned.” Many organizations don’t see the point in hiring a dedicated person to do a job existing employees seem to be managing just fine. But just because something is going fine doesn’t mean it can’t be better, and simulation technicians could be the key to unlocking additional productivity and ROI. Here are four ways simulation technicians can add value to your organization.

  1. Educators want to teach, not trouble shoot. Educators often become de facto simulation experts because they use the technology the most. Educators who have to set up and troubleshoot the simulation system are distracted from their core mission—to teach. If a simulation technician were available to prepare the simulation room, boot or reset the system, and address any issues as they arose, educators would have increased time for instruction, grading, mentoring and other responsibilities.
  2. IT departments have enough to do. Almost every IT department already has more than enough to do, and maintaining and monitoring a simulation system will likely fall to the bottom of an already long list. A simulation technician can relieve some of that burden by handling the day-to-day operations of a simulation system and freeing up the IT department to focus on more high-level, organization-wide concerns.
  3. Simulation solutions don’t exist in a vacuum. Simulation systems are not stand-alone tools. They have to interact and cooperate with other technologies, including network connections and AV equipment. Simulation technicians are perfectly positioned to be a full-time subject matter expert not only on the simulation system, but on how it integrates with other components. As simulation subject matter experts, simulation technicians can also advocate for the adoption and incorporation of simulation best practices.
  4. Time is money and sim techs save time. There is a lot of prep work that goes into a successful simulation user experience. It’s not as simple as booting up the system and diving in. For example, a room must be stocked with the right supplies. The simulation system itself has to be prepped and tested. Seamless simulation experiences also require someone to document and implement usage schedules, track and order supplies, work with vendors for support and collaborate with faculty members to understand what they need for each simulation scenario and prepare accordingly. That’s a lot to ask of someone who already has a full job description. A simulation technician, however, has the bandwidth and expertise to keep everyone on track and make sure students receive the necessary simulation training on time and without glitches.

Next Steps

The role of simulation technician is new to many organizations and the level of experience and skills among simulation technicians can vary. Taking advantage of training and certification opportunities, such as those offered by Level3, will ensure your simulation technician has the education and support they need to help you succeed.