by Meridith Levinson

Human Patient Simulators and ASP Technology Allow Rural and Remote Communities to Train Medical Staff

Jul 15, 20022 mins
Enterprise Applications

It breathes, it has a heartbeat and a pulse, but is it alive? Not really?human patient simulators are filled with computer hardware and plastic tubes, so they “behave” like a person in the physiological sense. They exhibit a heartbeat and a pulse, simulate breathing, and produce sounds like heart murmurs and wheezing. Life-size plastic dolls like this have been in use by medical trainers for nearly 30 years.

These physiologically accurate models are being used more frequently by medical schools to provide practical training on how to diagnose and treat patients in emergency situations without the risk, according to Dr. Dag von Lubitz, chairman and chief scientist of MedSmart, a nonprofit based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that develops simulation technologies for medical education. “Because the physiology [of the human patient simulator] is so correct, it forces your trainee to put their entire range of knowledge together in some logical sequence and act,” says Dr. von Lubitz.

However, the exorbitant price tag, often as much as $200,000, prevents rural and remote communities, which often have the greatest need for good medical training, from getting access to such sophisticated technology. As long as those rural communities have access to a computer with an Internet connection and a Web browser, they can use these human patient simulators remotely via ASP technology developed by MedSmart. “We make these simulators available over the Web for free to physicians living in rural and remote areas who are entirely isolated from advanced medical training centers,” says von Lubitz.

“This ceases to be a book exercise. If you perform inadequately or poorly, if you administer the wrong drugs at the wrong dose, that patient will die right in front of your eyes,” von Lubitz says.