Center will offer place to practice procedures

Physicians can use an Ohio simulation center to "replay" clinical cases.

By Andis Robeznieks — Posted Dec. 6, 2004

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To those who assume medical simulation is useful only to surgical teams, Edward Bope, MD, says: wrong assumption.

Dr. Bope, director of the Family Practice Residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, helped select the equipment, software and floor plan for Riverside's Center for Medical Education and Innovation. It will be the first non-military medical simulation facility and multidisciplinary training center that can follow a virtual patient from the ED, to the OR, to the ICU.

"A lot of people were thinking about this at the same time, and it's a source of pride that we will have the first one," said Dr. Bope, who this year was elected to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education board of directors. "This is a physician-funded and physician-led project, and everyone involved says how it's been a long time since they've seen a medical staff all pull together so well in one direction."

Pamela Boyers, PhD, Riverside's director of medical education, said she worked with cardiologists, surgeons, family physicians and internists to create the center. She said primary care physicians played a special role. "I think they always reminded us -- quite rightly -- that we are taking care of the whole person."

In addition to a Virtual Care Unit, the center will contain a Laboratory Skills Center where doctors can practice suturing, treating joints, "removing bumps and lumps," intubation, neonatal resuscitation, pelvic exams and general microvascular skills.

"Family physicians do a lot of procedures and they will have a place where they can practice them," Dr. Boyers said.

Dr. Bope said Riverside's use of medical simulation is unique in that it aims more at residents and attending physicians and less at students.

He also said it will be possible to "replay" cases by plugging symptoms and other data into the computer to see if there were aspects of care that could have been done better.

The center is expected to open this spring. It received $3 million in initial funding from Riverside's Graduation Medical Education Committee.

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