Monday, April 19, 2010

Medical Training Simulators Improve Hospital's Bottom Lines

Medical training simulators are rapidly becoming one of the most effective and popular uses of simulation-based training software. Medical training simulations can improve the bottom line by providing safe and relatively inexpensive training across many different medical specialties. In addition to providing new training for existing surgical procedures, medical training simulators are critical when it comes to training surgeons for robot-assisted surgeries which are becoming more common every day. Everyone benefits from medical training simulators, including medical and surgical equipment manufacturers, hospital administrators and surgeons, and even patients.

Simulated Surgical Systems provides a Robotic Surgical Simulator (ROSS) that is used to familiarize and train surgeons on the da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery system, practicing everything from cutting tissue and sewing incisions, to complete surgical procedures. The ROSS is divided into three levels:
  1. Motor skills: teaches surgeons the hand-eye coordination skills necessary to work with the robot.

  2. Clinical applications: teaches surgeons how to perform the specific elements of surgical procedures.

  3. Procedures: surgeons must perform virtual hysterectomies and prostatectomy, the 2 most commonly preformed robotic surgery procedures.
Medical simulations are becoming so popular that Banner Health has just established the Banner Simulation Medical Center, a virtual hospital used to train physicians and nurses before they ever treat actual patients.

The Banner Simulation Medical Center, located in Mesa, Arizona, is a 55,000 square foot facility capable of training more than 1,800 medical personnel on patient care situations common to intensive care units, emergency rooms, and operating rooms (including virtual surgery simulators).

Click to watch the Banner Medical Center Grand Opening Video

Health and Hospitals and the City of New York have also started construction on a medical simulation center that will be New York City's largest and most advanced medical training technology center. This $10 million, 10,000 square foot facility located on the Jacobi Medical Center campus in the Bronx, will simulate emergency room, operating room, and other patient care settings to help train health care professionals to master medical procedures. Expected to be completed by the fall of 2010, the simulation center will be able to train 14,000 medical professionals in it's first 3 years of operation.

Medical training simulators are revolutionizing medicine, changing the age-old approaches to training and teaching, and challenging the status quo. Taking advantage of the latest technology allows forward-thinking companies and hospitals to stay ahead of their competitors by providing the highest level of medical training, in a virtual environment where the worst-case scenario is a reboot, and not the loss of an actual patient.

Hospitals have found that the use of medical training simulations can reduce the amount of surgical errors, create time savings in both procedural and instructional settings, provide a reduction in real-world equipment repair costs (due to less trainee access), as well as provide a revenue stream by selling training time on the simulator. Medical training simulators allow for enhanced recruiting, better trainee evaluation, and a higher overall quality of care.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

UPS Trains Drivers With Interactive 3D Driving Simulators

If the training of drivers is part of your business, then driving simulators are for you. United Parcel Service, in an effort to fix the 30% flunk rate of candidates for their almost 100,000 U.S. based driver positions, have integrated an interactive 3D driving game into their training curriculum.

UPS Integrad is a next-generation training facility located just outside of Washington, D.C., with a second location opening in Chicago soon. Using a collection of simulations, employee candidates train for the company's "340 Methods", practices created by their industrial engineers meant to save money and time, as well as improve safety.

In a Wall Street Journal article titled "UPS Thinks Out of the Box on Driver Training", Jennifer Levitz reports that other companies like FedEx, Cisco, and Sodexo are also using simulation-based tools to train their employees.

Companies that adopt new technology are more likely to beat their competitors and survive in turbulent economic times. Driving simulators have been proven to be effective educational tools that teach safe driving techniques to operators of all classes of vehicles.

UPS plans to hire 25,000 new drivers over the next five years, their revenue is predicted to increase 8-10% in 2010, and the S&P gives their stock a 4 star buy rating - they must be doing something right. Does your company provide simulation-based training?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Driving simulators prove useful for new drivers

With the always increasing cost of gas, and the speed of computers, driving simulators have proven to be cost-effective and useful tools when it comes to training new drivers. These days just about every entry level computer you can buy comes with hardware acceleration capable of running real-time 3D simulations. Coupled with a USB steering wheel/pedal set and you're staff is ready to hit the virtual road.

SimuRide, developed by AplusB Software, is a personal driving simulator for beginners who are studying for their driver's license test. This home-based simulator provides a safe introduction to operating a vehicle, where students can practice their driving skills in a virtual world, without the need for expensive gas, supervision, or even a driver's permit. Drivers can gain an understanding of complex maneuvers like parallel parking, passing other vehicles, and merging onto a highway before they ever enter a vehicle.

Available in both Home and Professional versions, the SimuRide Home Edition is available for $75 while the Professional Editions cost between $800 and $1,000. For another $100 you can purchase alcohol glasses for the simulator that simulate drunk driving.

Just like flight simulators are the natural choice for new pilots, driving simulators are a natural choice when it comes to training students how to drive a car. When training is required for specialized vehicles that simulators are not commercially available for, companies turn to simulator software development companies to produce training simulators for their operators. For example, ForgeFX developed an Aircraft Deicing Simulator for Global Ground Support's customers to train to operate the equipment: