The Emerging role of simulation technology in healthcare
Today, modern healthcare institutions face a continuous need to implement the latest health technologies and employ skillful healthcare professionals. An increasing number of healthcare professionals grasp that treatment and recovery for patients can be greatly increased through coupling quality medical intervention alongside quality services. Herein, medical simulation technology has been recognized as a means to improve the industry. Simulation technology is rapidly gaining popularity through provisioning safe and excellent training environments for all personnel to learn procedures, medical concepts and decision-making.
In more complicated medical procedures such as open-heart surgeries, simulation finds its best utilization. However, only a few in the healthcare community have mastered the science behind this enabling technology. One of them is Richard Tallman Jr., a retired medical professor and researcher specialized in perfusion science for nearly three decades.
Upon his retirement, Richard vigorously pursued actualizing his new simulator prototypes. Despite low funds, Richard and his associates leveraged lean startup principles to develop a minimally viable product receiving positive feedback from early customers and successful beta-testing. In 2011, alongside launching their first patient simulator, the group established ‘Biomed Simulation Inc.’, in San Diego, California, with an aim to develop further as sophisticated simulation device makers for surgeons, perfusionists and critical care specialists.
The company’s growth and contributions
The newcompany built strong business relationships to distribute their products to consumers in Europe, Middle East and Asia. Initially, the product’s novel features helped their sales. Over time, through a partnership with a designing firm, their product was re-imagined with newer design and more capabilities—named Califia®. Over time, with the help of a manufacturing firm, the scope for their innovative simulators broadened. Richard describes, “Thus, we were able to design several new computer modules, extending the capability and therapeutic applicability of Califia®. In turn, this drove the growth beyond Cardiopulmonary Bypass surgeries to include ECMO Ventricular Assist Devices, as well as actual surgical skill training.”
Steadily, their services gained renown for their physiologically reflexive, high-fidelity simulation solutions throughout the industry. In turn, their products have a facilitated an overall improvement in the standard clinician and healthcare professional performance. Richard explains how, “We are dedicated to providing training tools that will lead to improving the standard of patient care, support improving patient outcomes and help reduce frequency of incidents of adverse effects. We primarily focus on helping train surgeons and perfusionists who are part of our growing community.”
Within the cardiopulmonary department, modern medicine utilizes sophisticated mechanical support and monitoring devices such as Heart-Lung machines, ECMO machines, ventricular assist devices, etc. In fact, there is a lot of pressure and responsibility on clinical professionals and physicians to utilize this equipment efficiently. Richard explains, “When complex devices are coupled with complex human physiological systems which can include an array of pathological variations, the degree of complexity is magnified considerably. Our simulation solutions address these challenges by providing systems that involve everyone together in team simulations. Thus, communicating during emergencies, understanding each other’s role, and simply practicing become vastly easier.”
Providing the best training environment for surgeons, perfusionists and critical care specialists
Richard further shares his thoughts, “A high turnover among various healthcare service providers directly translates to continuous skill improvement among its employees. Our simulation solutions can evaluate personnel competency levels ensuring compliance with regulatory standards.”
Specialists training in a life-like environment where cause and effect can be visualized amounts to measurable improvements. Their simulators involve actual clinical equipment alongside their ‘patient’ who can reflexively respond to various factors such as drug infusion and changing pump flow during CPB or ECMO.The company’s virtual representations of monitoring devices of the OR and ICU further encourages learning. With additional capabilities such as creating and maintaining electronic patient records, text-to-speech conversion and translation, their simulators allow for a precise and standardized training environment.
Califia 3.0 —Bringing Powerful clinical capabilities
Regarding their flagship product, Richard shares, “Our new Califia®high-fidelity bypass simulator system is a unique hardware and software medical simulation solution designed to simulate a patient before, during and after cardiopulmonary bypass for open-heart surgery or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy.”As the simulator is highly programmable, it allows for many adjustable patient parameters including vital signs, breathing capacity and blood circuit characteristics.
Previously archived electronic patient data can be transferred over to ‘Califia’s Brain’ for scenario creation and further processing. Currently, a future functionality is in the making to create ‘what-if’ scenarios to help critical decision making.
Worldwide, over 80 centers utilize the company’s simulators. For Biomed Simulation Inc., the future looks promising as their solutions continue to receive positive responses and results. Richard points out what we can expect in the years to come, “Future developments will also include the addition of simulated lungs as well as other therapeutic modalities such as Hemodialysis, Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT), and Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). The addition of other monitoring and evaluation devices is also being planned. These include a BIS monitor, and various blood and cerebral saturation monitors.”