The Top 6 Healthcare Simulation Trends to Watch
Emerging technologies are changing the way healthcare is delivered, and those same technologies will change the way healthcare simulation training is delivered, and what skills prospective healthcare professionals need to succeed in the healthcare market of the future. According to research by Deloitte, global healthcare expenditures are expected to steadily increase at an annual rate of 5.4 percent through 2022 eventually reaching $10 trillion. That growth in the global healthcare market translates into growth for the healthcare simulation market, as increased demand for healthcare services creates demand for well-trained healthcare professionals. So what are these emerging technologies and how do they impact your simulation program? Here are six healthcare trends you should be prepared to incorporate and address.
Virtual and augmented reality.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) applications can be especially useful for team training and communication in healthcare simulation programs. For example, using VR geographically dispersed students can practice “performing” operations and other procedures together. But though it might be tempting to go all-in on a shiny new tool, remember that tactile, hands-on training is still critical as students practice things like performing surgery and inserting IVs. VR and AR can be a great supplement to your healthcare simulation center, but they shouldn’t replace tools such as manikins and task trainers.
Better decision making powered by big data could generate big savings and increased quality of care across the U.S. healthcare system. Here’s an example. Let’s say the hospital where your simulation lab is located collected data showing a correlation between incorrect catheter procedures and an increased rate of urinary tract infections in patients with a catheter. The simulation lab can act on that data by providing standardized training on how to sterilize, insert, change, and care for catheters. Ideally, data tracked after the training will show a decrease in the incidence of urinary tract infections in patients with a catheter. Now you’ve not only used data to improve patient outcomes and save the hospital money, you also have new data showing the value of the training and education your simulation lab provides. And that can lead to stronger administrative buy-in and more resources and respect for simulation going forward.
The point of healthcare simulation programs is to help students prepare for real-life healthcare scenarios in a controlled environment. Telehealth is an increasingly common tool in healthcare delivery, so learning how to conduct examinations, make diagnoses, and recommend treatments virtually has to be part of your healthcare simulation program. For example, there are some healthcare simulation centers dedicated exclusively to telehealth training. These centers are designed like a home instead of a hospital room, with manikins in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. A telehealth robot takes care of the “patients” at the direction of the students, giving them a real-life opportunity to practice using specialized technology to deliver care remotely. Why go to all that trouble? Virtual healthcare makes quality care accessible to more people, and reduces costs for patients and providers.
Medical Robots are a growing part of healthcare delivery—from cleaning rooms and delivering medication to assisting human providers with tasks in the operating room. Some medical robots, such as the da Vinci robot, even allow physicians to perform entire complex surgeries remotely. A da Vinci trainer in your healthcare simulation center will help both prospective and veteran healthcare providers get the training and practice they need to effectively use medical robots in the delivery of care.
Imagine the money your healthcare simulation program could save if you 3D printed your medical devices and surgical tools instead of buying them. You can also use a 3D printer to print replacement parts for the tools in your sim lab, instead of buying expensive replacements from the manufacturer every time something breaks or wears out. 3D printing of organs, limbs, and tissue specific to certain patients, diseases, or conditions offers more personalized, specialized simulation training at a manageable cost.
Cloud-based tools such as video conferencing can enhance the training your students receive by connecting them with experts and specialists anywhere in the world. Applications that support content sharing are integral to successful virtual healthcare delivery; for example, providers can go over lab results, radiology images, and vital signs reports with their patients in real-time even if they are not in the same room. For actual training scenarios, however, simulation labs shouldn’t rely solely on the cloud. Make sure you have a separate network with a dedicated internet connection, IP address, and enough bandwidth to run all the tools and technologies in your lab.
Keep Your Healthcare Simulation Program Ahead of the Competition
Just as the healthcare delivery market is growing rapidly with no end in sight, so is the healthcare simulation market. According to some estimates, the medical simulation market will exceed $3 billion by 2024, driven in large part by many of the trends and emerging technologies discussed above. Need help making these trends and technologies part of your healthcare simulation program? Contact one of our experts today.