September 22nd saw the second annual Florida Simulation Summit presented by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. Its focus was on two growing areas of simulation activity, professional sports and healthcare and it is significant because Central Florida and the High Tech corridor which crosses the state from Dayton Beach to Tampa along I-4, contains the most extensive and diverse gathering of simulation and training businesses, universities and government entities in the world.

Known locally as the World Center of Simulation, Orlando and the High Tech Corridor is home to more than 100 S&T businesses, the world’s leading Aviation University, Embry Riddle, perhaps the leading Simulation university at UCF Orlando, UF the originator of early healthcare mannequins and USF and its CAMLS facility in Tampa. In nearby Sarasota CAE has its global healthcare HQ while their defense HQ is in Tampa.

In Orlando, Florida Hospital and Orlando Health have built extensive hospital systems and are investing heavily in simulation and training facilities, including the world leading Nicholson Center for Robotic Surgery, while Nemours Children’s provides a state of the art hospital for pediatrics and it too is developing its simulation base in the purpose built Medical City at Lake Nona which also hosts UCF Med School, the VA National SimulatIon Center, Guidewell, Sanford Burnham, etc. all state of the art facilities in a master planned healthcare community. Twenty minutes away are the Jet Blue University and Flight Safety’s Training center. Twenty minutes from there you are in the heart of Orlando’s extensive and unique defense S&T community; the US Army and Navy procurement commands for Simulation and Training equipment, which also hosts the United states Marine Corp (USMC) and manages acquisition for the Veterans Administration, also located in the complex is the the Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation plus many of the businesses with whom they all work.

An hour down the road in Sanford, Allegiant has just started building their Airline Training center alongside the Aerosim Airline Training Academy. It is also home to our own company Halldale which is responsible for the three leading S&T magazines, MS&T (defense) CAT (Airlines) and MT/MEdSim for healthcare.

This meeting, which in many ways was a call to action on Healthcare S&T, may have significant impact at the confluence of so much defense, airline and healthcare S&T expertise. I will not spend any time on the sports panels and presenters, which given the quality of the content is unfair, but will post a link to the papers once available from the organizers.

The keynote presentation by Dr. Jeffrey P Gold Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center electrified the audience, most of whom were not career healthcare people. Dr. Gold stressed the need for dramatic change and improvement in healthcare education and linked this improvement with the construction of UNMC’s brand new simulation center, iExcel, to improving patient outcomes and reducing the current disastrous rate of medical error and 400,000 annual deaths. Using airline data showing the huge growth in the global fleet over the past 40 years and the tremendous safety improvement across the period, Dr Gold illustrated the failure in healthcare safety in the same era, moving death from avoidable error from 9th to 3rd place in the list of leading cause of US deaths.

The inference was obvious, if one highly complex system can achieve this improvement then so can healthcare. That view and the need for a basic healthcare cultural change was supported in later presentations by Dr. Thomas Graham of HEMISphere Global and Dr. Robert Amyot, CEO of CAE Healthcare.

Subsequent sessions illustrated local and national initiatives that will help achieve that improvement. Dr. Pamela Boyers led a panel that looked at the work of UCF’ s Institute of Simulation and Training, with presentations from Dr. Pamela Andreatta and Dr. Deborah Beidel who explained the development of PTSD support through UCF Restores which uses simulated sound, visual and smell to treat PTSD and traumatic brain injuries by taking soldiers back to the scenario of their injury or experience. Significant improvement in the lives of these veterans has been achieved. EON Reality’s view of technology advancement was presented by CEO Mats Johansson.

Medical Simulation Initiatives in Major Hospital Systems was the final session of the morning led by Beth Brunner of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians, whichhighlighted important programs from Florida Hospital, the VA SimLEARN program and Nemours. The session was capped by Linda Knorr of Orlando Health who described their response to the Pulse Nightclub shootings. The final patient was released from hospital on 6th September and the entire presentation from the description of the multi-agency simulation/exercise a few months before to the stellar response of OH staff in the face of the crisis was a moving and reassuring description of an incident that has left deep scars on the city.

The final session of the day led by Gloria Caulfield of the Lake Nona Institute featured local industry leader Waymon Armstrong of ECS, David Danielson of Syndaver, Chris Hillier of Guidewell Innovation and Dr. Robert Amyot of CAE. Each described the latest programs and products developed by their companies and outlined the opportunity available to those who seek to improve healthcare through improved, simulation enhanced training.

Organized by the National Center for Simulation the event was closed by their President Lt. Gen Thomas Baptiste who must have been delighted with the Summit. It attracted about 400 industry and community leaders who understood the importance of the local Simulation and Training community and its potential role in helping improve a healthcare system in tremendous need of improvement.

More info on the presentations will follow shortly.