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From IMSH13: SimManager Product Demo and HealthStream Video Interview

Lance Baily, healthysimulation.comBy Lance Baily, founder and editor,

(Reposted with permission.)

SimVentures is a joint collaborative of HealthStream & Laerdal Medical. Its SimManager platform was on display at IMSH 2013 at the SimCenter booth, right across from the Laerdal area. SimManager is an individual component of SimCenter, which also includes SimStore, SimDeveloper, and SimView. To better understand the relationship between these SimCenter components and the specific tools of SimManager I recorded an interview with Simulation Solutions Manager Lydon Small.

Watch the comprehensive video below to learn more about SimManager as well as to understand why such management systems can dramatically increase efficiency and reporting for your medical simulation program:

HealthStream SimManager

What I Learned about SimManager

SimManager is a cloud-based software service that requires an ongoing subscription fee automatically updated since there are no onsite hardware needs. SimManager is the back-end scheduling, reporting and content management system for operating the day-to-day needs of a healthcare simulation lab. SimManager schedules lab video recordings through SimView and holds purchased scenarios through SimStore

SimManager can help you schedule an event using existing templates and modify those needs depending on the specific lesson plans for that day. Users can be given different administrative control capabilities, which means you can choose who can edit the calendar and how can view it, or request space. Having one person approve requests or create the calendar will certainly increase your program efficiency overtime and reduce scheduling headaches. Note that additional SimView systems that are utilized to capture simulation events are a hardware/software solution which currently provide log files back to SimManager (with plans to connect video in the future). In this sense, these different SimCenter components offer modular solutions that can be specific to the needs of your current or future simulation program.

SimManager also allows you to create exportable reports of room utilization that hold specific pieces of equipment in-order to better demonstrate ROI. Furthermore, SimManager allows for learner tracking to better identify changes in performance. This kind of tracking is crucial to demonstrate to higher levels of administration how staff, equipment and supplies are being utilized by the program.

Of course, purchased SimStore scenarios, handlers, trends and other multimedia components can be connected and controlled through SimManager, letting you allocate which licenses are utilized by which pieces of equipment.

HealthStream SimManager Features:

  • Ability to manage simulation rooms, equipment, instructors, and simulation technicians.
  • Can track, manage, and report
  • Schedule and assign simulation learning activities
  • Manage simulation content
  • Integrates simulation scenarios into learning curricula
  • Can customize role management to create varying access levels for administrators
  • Configure and schedule reports for simulator utilization and activity
  • Upload and store simulator debriefing files
  • Capture simulation activity on learner transcripts
  • Integrates with Laerdal simulators
  • Integrates with SimCenter product suite, including SimStore, SimDeveloper, and SimView

Click here to learn more about SimManager.


Top 5 Questions... About Managing a Medical Simulation Program


Lance Baily, healthysimulation.comBy Lance Baily, founder and editor, and HealthySimAdmin, a 2-day conference designed to address the specific needs of Healthcare Simulation Program Administrators.

(Reposted with permission from

This post compiles the questions (and their answers) you should be asking of an experienced simulation program manager:

(1) How can we better utilize new media production?

We have all heard the saying that a “picture is worth a thousand words”. Well if that is true, then I would conjecture that a video is worth a million!

Imagine the long-term benefits of video recording trainings, procedures, and other tutorials once and then being able to share them an infinite number of times without having to require additional staff time. For example, does your simulation program provide its new clinical educators any type of training sessions for using the lab’s medical simulation technology? At the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas we had a constant rotation of new clinical faculty who would be utilizing simulation, and so to save staff time we created numerous training videos. While shooting and editing a video takes additional time up front, once the video is complete and uploaded to youtube for free, it can then be shown hundreds of times with no additional effort. Here's an example that shows CSCLV’s lectern system orientation video and how media can increase efficiency and provide additional learning opportunities.

simulation programNew media production can also be used to further engage with learners through social media. Take for example the Maricopa Nursing Program’s use of Stella, a fictional character manikin on social-media, who reminds students about deadlines, additional learning opportunities, and ways to relax before finals. Utilizing facebook and twitter, “Stella” has become a safe bridge between faculty and students that allows for a closer relationship. Read the article linked above to learn more about Stella.

Additionally, new media productions can also increase realism in your patient simulations. For example, record audio from the clinical environments your simulations are set in and play it back over the speakers in your sim-lab. Using new media can be as simple as printing out photos from the internet of wounds your simulated patients need to have diagnosed. Consider these media production applications for your simulation program:

The possibilities are endless! Check out the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas website to see more examples of new media productions.

(2) How can we keep from starting over when we lose someone from our staff?

This is a crucial topic to immediately address for your medical simulation program. Numerous center administrators have commented to me that they have repeatedly lost years of experienced knowledge when a key simulation champion leaves their program after retiring, relocating, or finding a new position.

There are several ways to combat this challenge by having each of your staff members start doing the following:

  • Update their job descriptions once a year with administrative review. This will ensure that their evolving position is up-to-date in case of a sudden departure.
  • Provide monthly training sessions to other center staff demonstrating the performance of key job duties. This will help “spread the wealth” of knowledge so that other staff members can take over in the case of an emergency.
  • Create a comprehensive and easy-to-follow “Standard Operating Procedures” manual that outlines key responsibilities and necessary procedure lists. This will help to ensure a new employee will have a “starting place” for all of the responsibilities of their new position from the previous staff member. At the CSCLV one such S.O.P. was over 35 pages and included directions for turning on manikins and restarting a/v servers. (This document is available to subscribers of SimGhosts.Org).
  • Have all staff members attend weekly lab meetings where everyone shares updates. Use these meetings to share staff concerns, ask questions, share the week’s schedule and discuss other matters. This will also help ensure that other center staff is at least familiar with the process of others on their team.

(3) How can we get additional help without increased budgets?

As the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas was launched in 2009 it quickly became apparent that we would need additional staff to help the expanding mission of our collaborative schools. Of course the revenue to do so did not yet exist!

On the suggestion of Gabriel Olivera, our Clinical Lab Coordinator, we immediately reached out to our local chapter of United Way, a non-profit volunteer organization. After meeting with their personnel and getting the necessary approval from the UNLV human resources department we were able to post a “volunteer position” with the United Way. Within a month we had three applicants and from that point on had a steady stream of volunteers working at the center throughout the week! Volunteers love working with simulation as its fascinating technology that provides experience that can be utilized in a variety of career fields. We even found a future hire from our volunteer pool – so consider volunteer options for your institution today!

Next we looked into student workers through UNLV. Student workers were great because we could find part-time employees who usually had flexible schedules during peak hours when we needed them most. Student workers were paid hourly and did not receive benefits compensation, which made them very cost effective for the center. Just be sure to engage in a rigorous interview process for these positions so that you can find quality candidates who will stay with you for the duration of their educational career.

Lastly after about two years the CSCLV had secured enough external revenue to secure a letter-of-appointment hire for a “jack of all trades” center lab assistant. This individual was specifically hired to cover night and weekend training events and support a variety of staff responsibilities so that they could cover when other department heads were out of the office. While this appointment did require additional funds, the increased number of external contracts the center could now run with the extra support more than made up for the cost of the position. Consider how to utilize external contracts to expand your center’s capabilities.

(4) How should we plan for changes in technology?

Planning for your medical simulation program’s long-term success demands you consider the guaranteed changes in technology. Just over ten years ago Google wasn’t a verb and most of us were suffering through Windows 2000 or ME. Moore’s Law states that computer processing power doubles almost every 18 months. Thus by the next decade processing power will have increased x 32! Would you use a laptop that was ten years old as your primary office system?

What will this dramatic change in technology mean for manikin hardware, audio-video servers, network bandwidth, pixel ratios and more? Even if we are standing in a brand-new state of the art simulation center, as medical simulation administrators we are responsible for considering the future needs of our programs.

Funds will absolutely be needed but finding ways of spreading out the costs over time will help ensure you have continued success without needing to be “bailed out”. To do this your lab needs to develop a “technology refresh cycle (TRC) plan” which considers the costs of replacing aging hardware at sections at a time.

What is a TRC? Well let’s say your sim lab had three rooms that utilized a lot of technology. With your TRC plan you could calculate the costs of replacing major components of a single room in-order of most to least important during a single year. Repeat this for the two additional rooms for two years following the first to come up with a total cost to the center. Your IT department and audio-visual integrator should be able to help you with projections for when systems will break down. Prevent this issue from becoming the straw the broke the camels back by planning ahead.

Of course this is a basic introduction to this concept, one which More detail about this is accomplished will be covered by Ferooz Sekandarpoor, IT Manager for the Centre of Excellence for Simulation Education and Innovation, and I will be covering in greater detail at HealthySimAdmin!

(5) How can we run our center more like a business?

Nothing can bring more success to your simulation lab then treating it more like a business. Consider that at the end of the day as a medical simulation program manager, you have fixed assets and capital costs against which you are attempting to drive a growing customer base.

In a recent survey of medical simulation administrators by Allen Giannakopoulos Ph.D., Corporate Director of Baptist Health South Florida, our community learned that “51% of [Simulation Centers] do not have an annual budget”. That estimates that half of simulation center administrators do not receive additional funding for increased output. Who then will pay for the increased costs of supplies, equipment malfunction, staff hours, facilities and administration?

A business that does not eventually “get in the black” and become profitable will eventually go bankrupt. I am not disputing that your simulation program has an educational mission, but in reality as a manager of simulation space you are operating a business. You must therefore, plan for ways to decrease costs and increase productivity in-order to gain the revenue necessary to continue to do business for years to come.

* * * * *

Changing the way we think about managing medical simulation and providing the tools to do so successfully is what HealthySimAdmin is all about. This conference focuses on how small changes in thinking can lead to major changes for your medical simulation program.

Learn more about HealthStream's Simulation Management solutions.

Surgery Simulation Training Article Features SimCenter, HealthStream


SimCenter and HealthStream were recently featured in an article about surgery simulation training in Healthcare IT News. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Taking a cue from aviation, today surgeons are better prepared than ever before

medical simulationNASHVILLE, TN – In the past, surgery simulation was a crude approximation of what doctors really encounter – and they needed to be close to a teaching hospital to even try it. But surgery simulation is finally coming of age, thanks to breakthroughs in mobility, cloud-based software, and 3D imagery.

“There are now simulation mannequins that actually sweat, bleed and talk,” said Mollie Condra, associate vice president of Nashville-based HealthStream. “We partner with Laerdal Medical, the Norwegian-based global leader in mannequin design. Our SimCenter family of products provides software ‘scenarios’ that can be downloaded into the mannequins, plus software to help manage the complex logistics of scheduling and certification.”

These simulations cover more than surgeries, Condra added. Moreover, they can be conducted anywhere from a large hospital to an ambulance. Many healthcare organizations have been trying to manage these programs using Outlook or Excel, and that just does not work as well, she said.

HealthStream’s SimStore is a cloud-based collection of about 2,500 simulations that work in similar fashion to Apple’s iTunes. HealthStream provides developers with the toolkit needed to create simulation content, and healthcare users simply download the content they need. “This makes it very affordable, even for small hospitals,” said Condra.

For hospitals that can’t afford to build a simulation center, mobile sim labs can drive right up to the doorstep.

Read the full article.

Learn more about SimCenter.

Media Attention Growing for SimCenter™ and Medical Simulation Training


SimCenter in the News

medical simulation training

HealthStream's joint venture with Laerdal Medical, SimCenter, has been featured significantly in recent media. The following feature stories focus on the SimView™ and SimManager™ launches, along with product news. Notable mentions below include news from MarketWatch, medGadget, InformationWeek, Green Technology World, Chief Learning Officer, Investor’s Business Daily, and Today in PT Magazine.

Highlights Below:

MarketWatch, 31 January 2012
“HealthStream and Laerdal Medical Launch SimManager(TM), a Comprehensive, Easy-to-Use Application for Managing Healthcare Simulation Education Programs”

medGadget, 31 January 2012
“HealthStream and Laerdal Unveil New Clinical Simulator Management Tools”

Information Week, 3 February 2012
 “Mannequins Recruited To Teach Medicine”

Green Technology World, 3 February 2012
“HealthStream and Laerdal launch SaaS application for simulation-based training”

Chief Learning Officer Magazine, 1 February 2012
“HealthStream and Laerdal Medical Launch Application for Managing Education Programs”

Investor’s Business Daily, 15 March 2012
“HealthStream Takes Medical Training Into The Cloud”

HealthStream and Laerdal have combined our experience and knowledge to make simulation easier. With SimCenter, we are removing many barriers to adopting and integrating simulation into current curricula. It combines curriculum delivery, learning management, debriefing, and competency assessment in a single, fully-integrated platform. SimCenter, which can be purchased as separate components or a single solution, improves orientation of new hires and continuing education for experienced employees, while creating a more efficient process for evaluating staff competencies. By using validated content from industry leaders and delivering it in a usable, manageable format, simulation is truly made easier. SimCenter is a tool that can be used to complement current educational programs and support educational objectives.


Learn More about SimCenter and Medical Simulation Training Here.

Simulation-based Training Enhances Obstetrics Education

  • A Medical Simulation-Based Training Success Story for Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minnesota & Wisconsin, U.S.

deliveryBoth mother and baby can experience significant harm if they experience Shoulder Dystocia (SD), a serious obstetric emergency. Injuries of this sort are among the leading causes for hospitals to be involved in obstetric litigation cases in the United States. Among Minesota- and Wisconsin-based Allina Hospitals & Clinics, a simulation customer of HealthStream partner Laerdal Medical, SD occurred between under 3% of the time, which left obstetric clinical professionals feeling inadequately prepared for this emergency event. The obstetric management staff introduced simulation training so that clinicians could practice their learned skills, experience the condition, and make mistakes in its treatment safely.

Positive feedback During Simulation Training Helps Clinicians Get it "Right"

birthing simulatorHands-On Simulation Training supplemented films and literature review and discussion for each training class. Physicians and nurses, who understood their roles and how they should act in this sort of an emergency, communicates and performed the same as if this were a actual patient  situation. During the ‘hands-on’ training, the PROMPT Birthing Simulator from Laerdal Medical was set up in a delivery room. In a hybrid simulation environment, a nurse acted as the delivering mother, sitting in the bed behind the simulator and enhancing the experience of a live clinical environment. As the simulation progressed, the acting “mother” positioned the infant in the birth canal and the simulator measured how the strength with which physicians worked to extract the baby as delivery occurred. Different maneuvers and techniques were used by individual clinicians, including breech, vacuum, forceps, normal delivery, and SD.

Simulation-Based Training Improves Quality & Speed of Response to SD & Other Birthing Complexities

Adverse events occurred with much less frequency during the simulated delivery and in actual practice thereafter:

  • 10.5% of all SD babies  had an APGAR score less than 7 at 5 min. in 2007. Only 1.2% were scored below 7 in 2009.

  • Maternal hemorrhage subsequent to SD delivery fell from 10% to 6.7%

  • brachial plexus injuries and uterine ruptures were diminished

  • At least one facility measured a decrease in the amount of time that occurred between identification of SD and delivery 

Physicians gave high marks to the simulation-based training program

Five PROMPT Simulators placed in three Allina metro hospitals as well as at the corporate offices for training use. Allina's Pregnancy Care Council strongly recommends training participation; some hospitals make it a requirement for credentialing. Even physicians who were initially recalcitrant now have come around to an endorsement. And, all participants  said the hands-on training was particularly beneficial. Many said, “this was the best class I’ve been to in years.” “The data is dramatic,” said a hospital representative. “We’re strong believers. It has worked out very well for us.”

Learn More About Improving Outcomes with Simulation.

Visit SimCenter to Learn More About Simulation.

Request Information.


Simulation-Based Training from UT Arlington Added to SimStore


medical simulation trainingNursing students across the globe can now access the faculty-developed curriculum used at UT Arlington’s Smart Hospital™ through a new partnership with HealthStream and Laerdal Medical. The two companies launched SimStore™ early this year – an Internet-based resource for educational institutions and healthcare providers that are incorporating simulation-based training and patient simulators into their coursework and education programs. At the site, educators can purchase downloadable simulation-based scenarios that teach everything from infant medication administration to advanced life support for hypothermia.

Working Like iTunes for Simulation-Based Training Content

Working in a manner akin to Apple's iTunes, UT Arlington’s College of Nursing, with more than 6,000 students, will receive royalties from sale of the simulation-based training content at the SimStore. Those funds will be invested back into its Smart Hospital, a 13,000 square foot center with 40 computerized patients in realistic hospital units. The College of Nursing at UT Arlington was one of only 15 institutions and organizations chosen to provide initial content. Some of the other simulation-based training providers featured at the SimStore include the National League for Nursing, the American Heart Association and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. To date, there are over 30 content providers, worldwide, for SimStore.

SimStore is one component of SimCenter, which is dedicated to making the adoption of simulation-based training easier. Simulation-based training enables learners to practice difficult or infrequently used procedures in a safe environment and can play an integral role in orienting new hires. In partnership with Laerdal, HealthStream has introduced SimCenter and SimStore to revolutionize your ability to grow and develop simulation-based training programs. Featuring quality educational materials for users of all levels and backgrounds, SimStore provides educators with an easy-to-use, efficient tool for delivering simulation-based curricula.

According to Elizabeth Poster, dean of the UT Arlington College of Nursing, “this initiative is a good example of how the College of Nursing partners with leading manufacturers of healthcare training and simulation technology, such as HealthStream and Laerdal Medical, to achieve its goals and benefit students.”

“Simulation facilities are more and more filling the role of the laboratory situations that all of the nursing programs in the world have to provide,” said Carolyn Cason, interim Vice President for Research at UT Arlington and an associate dean in the College of Nursing. “Our potential market is a global one.”


Banner’s Simulation Hospital: Creating a Buzz around Patient Care

Jonas Fridrichsen, Senior Account Manager, HealthStream

An undeniable buzz has been growing in recent years around simulation-based training in healthcare. A recent trip to Banner Health’s Simulation Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona, convinced me that with equal parts of foresight, sponsorship, execution, and passion, it’s possible to turn this buzz into an integrated part of an organization’s culture.

Simulation Hospital 

Banner’s entry into the simulation world came from a multitude of catalysts; one in particular was the disparity in depth and breadth across their hospitals’ new hire orientation programs. The thought was that immersing new hires in a simulated environment during orientation would produce a reduction in time to competence, more standardization in their practice, a healthy ROI, and ultimately, better outcomes.

With a high degree of executive-level backing, an outdated hospital was converted into a 55,000 sq. ft simulation center containing staged ED, Med/Surg, ICU, and L&D units and filled with 50+ simulators and patient beds. Other elements include:

  • 250+ simulations (or scenarios), developed in-house and based on internal policies and procedures, as well as selected clinical resources
  • Beds equipped with individual audio/video equipment that allows an educator to record and debrief on every simulation
  • Assorted floor layouts, supplies, medical devices, and technologies are used to further simulate the patient interactions and workflows that a new hire will encounter in their day-to-day practice

Apart from the rich educational experience, Banner uses several methods of data analysis to quantify the impact of this venture. As a result, some exciting discoveries have validated simulation’s positive impact on time spent in training and general performance measures. Banner has also found that their Simulation Medical Center is a great environment to pilot new devices and polices before they are instituted house-wide. To date, over 2,000 RNs have gone through the center, and the reviews have been glowing. Plans are currently in place to begin incorporating physicians and pharmacists into the program in hopes of fostering better collaboration across the care continuum and exploring the impact that simulation training could have on those audiences as well.

While new technologies and training methodologies progress, at the core of every new innovation is the desire to improve patient care. Given their successes, Banner has created their own buzz around simulation that’s prompting other healthcare organizations to model their strategy. From the outside looking in, it’s a model worth following for the sake of better patient care.

A special thanks to Banner’s Terry Chavez and Carol Noe Cheney for their time and passion while acting as tour guides!

Learn how HealthStream is enabling hospitals to explore simulation training with SimCenter. Learn More »

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