The Simulation Center: Leveraging Tech to Make Care Safer

Hands-on training with real patients has been part of medical education for centuries. But what if, through technology, you could familiarize clinicians with nearly any action or event they might encounter in a hospital, and do it safely, effectively and as often as needed?

Ongoing CPR education at the Sim Center

That’s the idea behind the Ochsner Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety Center – what we call the Sim Center. It delivers high-quality experiential learning to Ochsner team members across our health system. The 8,500-square-foot training facility is equipped to simulate everything from patient transfers to communicating with patients, trauma response and advanced surgical techniques. It utilizes high-fidelity human patient simulators to mimic the physiologic functions of a real patient, allowing medical personnel to acquire and practice clinical skills in a safe but realistic environment. The center includes outpatient exam rooms, ICU rooms and operating rooms, as well as space for briefing before and after a simulation scenario.

The benefits of learning through simulation are many. Simulation provides the opportunity for a standard curriculum over a period of time that a medical professional might not encounter through rotations and day-to-day practice. From practicing CPR in response to cardiac arrest to simulating what happens during labor and delivery – the training scenarios are nearly limitless. Through practicing with simulations, Ochsner clinicians can experience firsthand how to react to potential scenarios that could arise with patients. Simulation is also aligned with how most adults prefer to learn – putting theory into practice by physically performing a task. In 2018, the Ochsner Clinical Simulation Center for Patient Safety provided over 22,000 simulation training scenarios to practicing clinicians, students, residents and fellows across the system.

The work of Sim Center director Michael Smith, MD, has been recognized for taking the training benefits of simulation technology to a whole new level. In 2018, Dr. Smith received the Innovation in Simulation Award from the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Simulation Academy. “We are dedicated to making sure our patients receive the best care possible and are driven to look for ways to improve patient safety,” says Dr. Smith. “I’m truly honored to be recognized by my peers for the innovative work we are doing every day at the center.”