SimGHOSTS 2019 - Medical Training Magazine

SimGHOSTS 2019

SimGHOSTS 2019 had the largest attendance for their event and is destined to continue to grow. Editor Judith Riess reports.

This year’s SimGHOSTS meeting held at Florida International University (FIU) Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences was one of the largest they have had with 270 attendees which included 30 international participants. The FIU Star Center team did a wonderful job keeping people on schedule and helping find where they needed to be. After everyone took their seats there was a very creative opening rap video about simulation and simulation technologists created by Ashley Rosen. It left everyone with a smile and clapping.

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Matt Stieber SimMan Maintenance Workshop. Image credit: Catherine Campos.

Dr. Ora Strickland, Dean and Professor of Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing welcomed the attendees and predicted that attendance would soon be in the thousands as the SimGHOSTS conference provides such practical, hands on knowledge needed in simulation. She further said it took so many decades for nursing, medicine and other healthcare specialties to see the value of simulation but once they did it is now being fully embraced. She emphasized the use of simulation to address complicated problems but stressed that it is essential for teaching basic skills proficiency for all healthcare providers. Dr. Strickland felt we had only begun to realize the many ways that simulation can be used.

After Dr. Strickland’s gracious welcome there were a number of excellent keynotes throughout the conference each sponsored by one of the industry sponsors. Professor John Rizvi, a board-certified patent attorney, nicknamed the Patent Professor, talked about some of the wonderful ideas the group present had for patents (but because either they or their university did not understand patent law) their inventions were lost to them and their university. He shared Scott Atkin’s story about developing a catheter, but the university did not understand the patent process and he lost his patent. He further stated that medical simulation is truly in its infancy and over the next five years it will be a $5 billion industry. He explained that five years ago the patent system moved from first to invent to first to file, a very significant change which means you may have had the idea but if someone beat you to it by filing first you were ‘out of luck’.

He discussed his dreams to join a #1 patent group, which were realized through sheer will and guts and then realized that was not what fulfilled his dreams. With the support of his wife he talked about the courage it took for him to step out of a high paying job to follow his dream with nothing but gumption.

Professor Rizvi discussed his own trials in leaving the prestigious law firm and quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s speech: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. He said medical simulation is somewhat like his career challenges, simulation specialists have had to fight to prove the importance of simulation. He said he went through all the stages of Gandhi’s quote and now he has, for 18 years, had a very successful patent law firm in Florida.

He shared Alex Gomez story with the audience. As a surgical technician – a position that allowed Alex to save for medical school – he encountered a strange technique: “Surgeons, operating in chilly operating rooms, were performing laparoscopic surgery which caused the camera lens to fog up when it was inserted into the warm body.” To counter this, they would dip the scope in a bucket of water to defog it. (https://thepatentprofessor.com/). Alex found this was common practice in laparoscopic surgery and dropped out of medical school because he felt he could develop a way to solve the problem. Alex designed a small, battery-operated device that fits over the end of the laparoscope, submerging the camera tip in a heated cleansing fluid until the doctor was ready to use it. The device, priced at around $40, became the flagship product for Alex’s company. After 10 years and growing his company to almost 150 people and over $20 million in revenue he sold the company for $100 million.

Mr. Rizvi’s point was that if you do not take chances and have the courage to pursue your dreams then you will stay as you are. He also said that just because something exists, doesn’t mean there can’t be something better. If you aren’t sure, apply for a design patent which costs between four or five thousand and always pay out of your pocket. He re-emphasized that speed is everything so make sure you are ‘first to file’.

Keynote Speakers (L-R) Mark Fonseca, FIU STAR Center Assistant Director, SimGHOSTS President Ferooz Sekandarpoor and Prof Henry Henao, FIU STAR Center Director.
Keynote Speakers (L-R) Mark Fonseca, FIU STAR Center Assistant Director, SimGHOSTS President Ferooz Sekandarpoor and Prof Henry Henao, FIU STAR Center Director. Image credit: Vincent Rives.

SimGHOSTS is not only for those running simulation centers but for those who would like to know about simulation. The pre-conference workshops allow in-depth training in a range of topics covered by industry and sim technologists. This year’s pre-conference workshops covered topics from basic moulage techniques for standardized patients and manikins, to a full moulage disaster scenario. Others covered maintenance and repair of manikins to Advanced Scenario Programming with Laerdal LLEAP & SimDesigner.

The conference itself continued workshops where participants could learn and practice moulage, to the maintenance of simulators, to designing and making low cost task trainers. The speakers also covered a range of professions from Simulation Directors to MDs and a lot in between.

The simulation showcase highlighted new simulation developments and new ideas for simulation that have, as yet, had limited distribution and great new simulations that were shared with the audience.

Scott Atkins and Patrick Higby’s session discussed how to evaluate technical competency in healthcare simulation and the importance of understanding the steps that need to be taken to achieve excellence in your simulation program.

Dr. Scott Crawford talked about how you develop a good resume and shared the kind of words and phrases he looks for when reviewing resumes. His audience asked many questions so they could prepare better resumes and he gave them advice on what he as a director is looking for in applications. His book, Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice, published by Springer Link and edited by Dr. Crawford, Lance W. Baily and Stormy M. Monks is now available and is a comprehensive text for those who want to learn about simulation.

Dr. Todd P. Chang, MD MAcM, Director for Research & Scholarship for the Division of Emergency Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles talked about the use of games and game-based learning and practical consideration for integrating serious games in augmented and virtual reality. He said that some of the problems with VR are minimized when using a gaming computer. He said that AR allows you to interact with the real world and may be used in simulation training and the advantages are in replicability, portability, asynchronization and distribution. The disadvantages are the high front end cost, bandwidth limitations and a fixed algorithm.

Professor Henry Henao MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, CHSE Clinical Assistant Professor Director, Simulation Teaching and Research Center Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences, Florida International University, has been recognized as an influential voice in the field of clinical simulation education and has spent over a decade on development of the simulation technologist role. He wanted to inspire the audience to look into the future and talked about the growth of FIU and compared that with the role of the sim technologist. FIU is the largest university in south Florida and the second largest in the state and provides quality education for all students.

Scenario Programming workshop lead by SimGHOSTS Vice President Nick Brauer. Image credit: Catherine Campos.
Scenario Programming workshop lead by SimGHOSTS Vice President Nick Brauer. Image credit: Catherine Campos.

He said FIU is classified as a research university and holds the R1 Carnegie classification for highest research activity and has research expenditures of $177 million. FIU is ranked as one of the country’s top 100 public universities by US News&World Report. He said the University was 4th in national enrollment, offering a variety of degrees across the healthcare field. Their enrollment is 63% Hispanic.

He said the 3rd floor was purpose built for clinical simulation. During 2011-2013 they participated in the National Simulation Study by the state board of nursing (NCSBN). Students in the simulation teaching unit supported specialist expertise – playing the role of patients through the mannequins. The future is bright for FIU because they have the capacity to justify growth. They have a faculty that is built on specialties and 30 non faculty support specialists and have been able to establish a pipeline of professionals. He feels they have established a foundation for success in clinical simulation specialties and their future and the future of the simulation technologist is bright. He highlighted Marco Reveland who had taught himself 3D graphics and worked on Lord of the Rings and honed his skills. Mr. Henao drew a parallel between what he is trying to do at FIU by having the simulation technologist take creative ideas and combine with the technical side with computers, mathematics, arts and science so that FIU covers both ends of the spectrum for careers. He stressed the importance of cross discipline communication. He wants to tailor FIU’s needs, both human and technical resources for the future and encouraged the audience to participate in research studies because you always learn.

Lori Lioce talked about the importance of having everyone certified as simulation specialist or healthcare educator. She has her full-time staff at her center in Huntsville cross trained. Her three telehealth robots play a significant role in the center. They are used to recruit high school students to the healthcare profession, to aid as telehealth eyes and ears for communicating with patients and for home health.

Ferooz Sekandarpoor, Assoc Dean Dr Helen Cornely, FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Keynote speaker Prof John Rizvi and Dean Dr Ora Strickland, FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences.  Image credit: Vincent Rives.
Ferooz Sekandarpoor, Assoc Dean Dr Helen Cornely, FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Keynote speaker Prof John Rizvi and Dean Dr Ora Strickland, FIU Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Image credit: Vincent Rives.

The beauty of SimGHOSTS is the diversity of the offering for attendees. You can leave with a knowledge of moulage for standardized patients to a full-time disaster preparedness exercise. Or learn the technical skills to fix your mannequin when it goes kaput. You have the opportunity to network with vendors and other attendees and build a network of cohorts for your future. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience and am glad that we had the opportunity to attend.

The following is a list of the conference award winners that is determined by the attendees. We would like to offer congratulations to them.

Best Overall Presentation – Edward Rovera: Scholarship for Simulation Technologists – Publishing your Innovative Ideas

Community Choice Best Overall Presentation – David Halliwell and Kevin King: Redefining Service in an Educational Construct

Best Poster Presentation – Sue Zelko: Resuscitative Hysterotomy Interactive Poster

Community Choice Best Poster Presentation – Alexandre Torre: Creating a Digital Documentation Framework to Streamline Simulation

Best Innovation Showcase Presentation – Zixing Chen & Kelley Stanko: Ocular Ultrasound Task Simulator: Journey from Invention to Patent using 3D Printing

Community Choice Best Innovation Showcase Presentation – Zixing Chen & Kelley Stanko: Ocular Ultrasound Task Simulator: Journey from Invention to Patent using 3D Printing.  

Originally published in Issue 4, 2019 of MT Magazine.