A medical simulator can be as simple as a simulated body part, say an arm, or as complex as a simulated human patient—these educational devices are used in hospitals, universities, and medical simulation centers.

Designed to train all levels of health-care workers, medical simulation centers provide high-quality, realistic patient experiences—just without the actual patients. Caregivers receive hands-on instruction in problem solving, state-of-the-art techniques, and efficient communication inside a simulated setting. The reputation of these training facilities is growing, as is the need for the medical simulator devices used in them.

Three main companies currently dominate the medical simulator industry. They hold an impressive monopoly over a market that’s expected to reach almost $969.8 million by 2020. Because they have so little competition, they’ve stopped bothering to compete and innovate, says David Escobar, medical simulator designer and president of Escobar Technologies.

“From a manufacturing and business standpoint, these companies have it very well made,” Escobar says. “If something breaks, you have to go to them.”

Escobar, a simulation specialist with a decade of experience as an EMT, cites several key problems with today’s most widely used simulators. Namely, they’re labor intensive, hard to clean, expensive to replace, and almost entirely single-function.

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