11:46pm Thursday 12 December 2019

Unique collaboration gives rural hospitals affordable access to patient simulators

The partnership, called the Shared Patient Simulation Project, is a collaboration between the University of Nebraska Medical Center, The Nebraska Medical Center, Prairie Health Ventures (PHV) and Mid-America Hospital Alliance (MAHA).

The project supports hospital requirements for ensuring quality care and patient safety and will reduce hospital training costs by making the training available on site. Currently, rural hospitals have to pay to send health professionals for training.

PHV, a health care group purchasing alliance of 48 hospitals in Nebraska and western Iowa, purchased a state-of-the-art high-fidelity human patient simulator. The simulator, which will rotate among hospitals, provides the most realistic training and evaluation for most emergency and routine patient situations.

It also enables health professionals to practice and gain proficiency in skills before performing them on patients.

Among the simulator’s many programmed capabilities — it can talk, sweat, bleed, cry, convulse, be resuscitated, intubated and catheterized. It responds to drug treatment, reacts to medication, and can have a heart attack.

“Our rural hospital members were telling us they wanted the equipment but couldn’t afford it,” said Dave Christensen, CEO of PHV of Lincoln. “This is a natural extension of what we do for our members, so we put together this model that allows participants to share the cost.”

Bud Tice, a MAHA member and administrator of physician relations at The Nebraska Medical Center, said MAHA and PHV joined forces to offer the simulator training to their members. MAHA is an organization of hospital CEOs sponsored by The Nebraska Medical Center, UNMC’s hospital partner.

“Our colleagues in community hospitals will have the opportunity to practice simulation exercises with state-of-the-art equipment in their own hospital, thus decreasing the need for many health care providers to travel long distances,” Tice said. “It also can be used to train emergency responders.”

Tice facilitated discussions with UNMC to provide the simulator training. UNMC, which will house the simulator in Omaha, will provide eight hours of training to those trainers identified by hospitals. Once trained, the trainers can have the simulator transported to their hospital to train others.

While the equipment is on rotation in hospitals, UNMC will provide backup technical support via Skype.

Patti Carstens, program director of the clinical simulation laboratory at the UNMC College of Medicine, will conduct the training. “There’s a big demand for this type of training — not only for teaching and refining skills, but also to ensure competency in certain tasks,” Carstens said.

About 50 hospitals already have indicated an interest in the training. In July, the first training session will be held at UNMC.

Participating hospitals will pay equipment usage fees to PHV. Meals and lodging will provided by The Nebraska Medical Center. Though initially only members of PHV and MAHA will participate in the project, there are plans to expand access to the training to other hospitals.

Photo cutline:

To watch health professionals practicing resuscitating on a patient simulator, go to:

To see the patient simulator that will be used for the Shared Patient Simulation Project, and hear UNMC’s Patti Carstens talk about it, go to:


UNMC’s Patti Carstens shows the patient simulator “Bud” that will be used for the Shared Patient Simulation Project. http://www.unmc.edu/media/publicaffairs/press/patty_and_bud.jpg

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