Healthcare simulation technology covers a vast spectrum from the very basic task trainer, enormously complex robotics of manikin based patient simulators to the cutting edge virtual reality patient encounters.
What is simulation in healthcare?
On the surface, simulation in healthcare is a fairly straightforward term: simulating a physician, nurse, or allied health provider’s interaction with a patient. Whether that is a simple out-patient clinic visit for a routine physical or a complex surgical procedure, all of these can be simulated in order to provide practice so that when the time comes to provide care for real-life patients, healthcare providers are well equipped and prepared to deal with the task at hand.
History of Simulation in Healthcare
Evidence of the origins of simulation in healthcare can be dated back as far as 500 BC, but in relation to modern medicine, the practice really started to take hold in the 1960s with resuscitation trainers. Since that time, simulation has increased in scope substantially and is widely accepted as a teaching modality, and in some cases be used in substitution for actual clinical hours.
Current Simulation in Healthcare
Today’s healthcare simulation tools incorporate some of the latest advancements in technology to make the simulation closer to life than ever. Patient simulators are increasingly making use of advanced robotics to provide life-like movement to what was previously an inanimate object. Augmented reality headsets are able to pair with patient simulators to add an additional layer of realism such as rashes on the skin, or provide insight as to what physiological changes are taking place within the body.
The Future of Simulation in Healthcare
Healthcare simulation technology has and will likely continue to be driven by advancements in other fields. As we try to ascertain the future of healthcare simulation technology, we need only look to the technology sector to see what is on the horizon. Both virtual reality and augmented reality equipment have been constantly evolving and improving, and as the technology matures, its impact on healthcare simulation will only increase.
On the software side, virtual assistants with their AI minds have become commonplace, and the idea of speaking to your phone or computer is now widely accepted. These advancements in AI are also being leveraged within healthcare simulation, allowing learners to speak with their virtual or manikin-based patient, just as they would with a human patient.
In healthcare simulation, we stand on the shoulders of tech giants, leveraging their advancements to increase the realism and experience of simulation in healthcare.
Virtual Reality Simulations in Healthcare Education
Virtual reality has the potential to increase the realism and immersiveness of healthcare simulation at a fraction of the cost of traditional manikin-based simulation labs. One of the core tenets of healthcare simulation for the longest time has been the suspension of disbelief, essentially asking the learner to forget about the otherwise unrealistic aspects of a simulation. That could be anything from the emotionless face of a manikin, or the classroom-like environment that the simulation is taking place in.
With VR, learners are transported to not only a setting that is more realistic, but also a patient that has actual expressions and movements similar to an actual human—making it easier for the learner to connect with the scenario and have that much more of an impactful learning experience.
Are you keeping up with the latest healthcare simulation technology? Try PCS’s Free Virtual Patients.
PCS Spark is enhancing the learning experience for healthcare students through natural conversation based AI. No longer do students have to have a conversation with their virtual patient through a drop-down menu. Instead they must think critically and decide what and how to phrase their questions.
We’ve made three of our PCS Spark cases available for anyone to try with absolutely zero commitment. Experience PCS Spark just as your students would by interviewing one of the available patients and performing a physical. When you’re done, we’re standing by to answer any of your questions.