2014 IMSH

The International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare provided insights on the state-of-the-art in learning technologies for healthcare professionals. Editor in Chief Judith Riess and Group Editor Marty Kauchak attended the conference with Halldale Media Group Publisher and CEO Andy Smith and provide this report.

A match-board exercise on Mimic's Xperience Tream Trainer brings simulation training to the first assistant. (Photo: Mimic Simulation
A match-board exercise on Mimic's Xperience Team Trainer brings simulation training to the first assistant. (Photo: Mimic Simulation

Conference Floor News

A not too subtle sign that the healthcare simulation market may be poised for additional growth was our recognition of a number of colleagues from companies in the defense simulation and training (S&T) sector “walking the conference floor” and attending IMSH sessions. Their attendance at IMSH was an indicator that companies are increasing their assessment of this market for possible entry in the coming months. Publisher and CEO Andy Smith observed this is “A sure sign of the potential growth of the healthcare market, and above all its need for new and better training methods is resonating with suppliers.”

We also took notice of an increase in overseas companies exhibiting at this edition of IMSH. A partial list of non-US-based companies includes Model-med International Pty Ltd. (Australia), Medaphor Ltd (UK) and iSimulate (Australia).

During our discussion with other exhibitors on the conference floor we again noted the S&T industry’s response to the community’s requirement for more robust team training products.

Mimic allowed the delegates to put the new Xperience™ Team Trainer through its paces in several scenarios. The robotic surgery simulator was designed to permit the first assistant to bolster his or her communications and other robotic OR skills, with the console-side surgeon outside the actual operating environment.

Thad Taylor, the company’s director of Marketing and Communications, told MEdSim the new trainer is designed to complement the company’s flagship dV-Trainer® simulator. “This is like a plug-and-play component – users connect the Xperience Team Trainer to the dV-Trainer and they’re ready to begin team training exercises. It’s that simple,” he explained.

Mimic expects to field the Xperience Team Trainer this summer with 10 to 12 training scenarios. Basic skills exercises on the dV-Trainer have been modified to accommodate the first assistant, and will facilitate skill development for common procedural tasks such as tissue retraction and needle passing.

The 2014 IMSH was the venue for Simbionix to debut its ANGIO Mentor Suite in the US market.

The device is designed to provide endovascular team training for learners across all disciplines.

Rob Kurtzner, a regional sales executive for the company, pointed out this new product permits the learning audience to practice with 18 different full procedure modules and rehearse cases in select simulations.

Simbionix also unveiled its LAP Mentor III platform. The product offers a new ergonomic design and will be offered to the community in second quarter of this year.

Industry is also looking to other opportunities to enhance their current generation of products.

David Micklewright, the director of The Chamberlain Group, noted that in a broad sense, his colleagues are looking at the collection of data for simulation. The Great Barrington, Massachusetts-based executive explained this effort may include establishing timed metrics in an operation and other processes to allow the end user to “manage a consistent experience in improvement.”

And while supporting individual learning and team training will remain a focus of the Chamberlain Group’s evolving product portfolio, Micklewright noted that at the end of the day, it is important to support the total simulated experience. “We offer many procedure-related products that advance this strategy.”

Another new product release which caught our attention was CAE Healthcare’s CAE Fidelis™ Maternal Fetal Simulator. Based on widely accepted and validated models of maternal-fetal physiology, the childbirth simulator will offer human-like vital signs and responses for practice of obstetrical emergencies and labor and delivery scenarios.

Leadership Insights        

Jeff Berkley, PhD, CEO, chairman and founder at Mimic, told MEdSim that one of his company’s areas of interest is establishing standards. RTN (Robotic Training Network) and FRS (Fundamentals of Robotic Surgery) are two evolving community standards that Mimic plans to work on. “We expect to start testing these protocols at the end of February, beginning at the 2014 CREOG and APGO Annual Meeting,” he said.

Asked about MEdSim’s perception of the medical community lagging behind other high risk industries in embracing standards for simulation, Berkley responded that is “primarily due to a lack of understanding of how simulation works well in other sectors.” He continued, “A lot of surgeons believe they can sit down and put in one hour on a simulator and they will have those skills needed to do the surgery. That’s not true and it’s not how even flight simulation works, where you put in 100s of hours to get qualified.”

While providing an upbeat assessment that it will be “difficult to find anybody in the medical simulation community that does not believe there is a role for simulation in education,” Berkley also opined “I don’t believe people are ready for the commitment to really utilize it” given competing demands of 80-hour work weeks and other challenges. “But it is getting there,” he concluded.

The community leader revealed that one technology thrust on his company’s horizon through the remainder of 2014 is developing augmented reality of advanced procedures.


At the show we had the opportunity to talk with new companies in the simulation arena as well as those mentioned above.

There is an uptick in the number of “Simulation Education” programs such as the one at the University of San Francisco.  These groups offer Healthcare educators the opportunity to get a masters or higher in Simulation Ed or something closely related.

Program Insights

The theme for this year’s conference was Making connections, with the focus being to connect people, institutions and simulation enthusiasts from around the world to share ideas and experiences. The program was divided into 10 different tracks ranging from basic to advanced themes, making it easier to select topics based on interest. The tracks were: Faculty Development, Assessment, Research, IPE/Team Training, Patient Safety/Quality, Course & Curriculum Design & Implementation, Program Evaluation/Outcome Measures, Debriefing, Administration and Simulation Operations (Sim Ops).

Dr. Ian Curran was the keynote speaker and he discussed looking at simulation through history and the legacy left by healthcare leaders of the past. He talked about striving to be experts and being competent and that competency certainly did not mean expertise, not only in healthcare but all fields. Dr. Curran is Clinical Advisor to the national Director of Education & Quality at Health Education England. His role covers national policy and strategy development particularly in relation to human factors, innovation and educational reform.

The Lou Oberndorf Lecture on Innovation in Healthcare Simulation was given by Gary Klein, PhD, who discussed Connecting Medical Simulations to Cognition. Dr. Klein is a Senior Scientist at MacroCognition LLC, He has developed several models of cognitive processes.  The best known is the  Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) model to describe how people actually make decisions in natural settings. In his presentation he discussed using simulation to enhance cognitive skills and knowledge.

One of the presentations by Dr. Annette Rebel and others from the University of Kentucky described how they had developed an anesthesia Olympics, starting with basic skills and progressing to more difficult to give students a crash course in necessary skills. The students rotate through six stations, each station staffed by a faculty mentor. They give prizes, everyone is challenged and they have had great success (article MEdSim Issue 3, 2014).

Another interesting session that we attended was a panel on planning, developing and staffing a simulation center. The speakers were from different medical schools and they discussed fee plans, center models, scheduling, optimum space utilization and faculty involvement. Paul Pribaz discussed the importance of bringing together the different factions that play a role in designing and implementing the center. The speakers from the University of Pittsburg, University of Washington and University of Illinois discussed the importance of   integrating groups and programs .At the University of Washington everyone is cross trained. It was a lively and interesting discussion and Q and A.

The usual problem that we encounter with SSIH is there are always so many meetings that you want to attend and not enough time!