Your Healthy Family: Robotic Training Simulator - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Robotic Training Simulator

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There is some advanced and amazing technology Memorial Hospital's simulation lab also known as The Center for Advancing and Developing Education Through Simulation, or CADETS. The technology and the people who make it all work have a single goal, and that’s to better prepare the people who might care for you in case of a real-life situation involving any number of traumatic injuries or medical emergencies.   

What makes the only hospital-based trauma simulation lab in Colorado Springs so effective, are the high-fidelity robotic simulators, or what most of us would call dummies.  Matthew Lee is an Educational Technologist at the sim lab and he says there isn’t much that is dumb or cheap about these training tools.  "These mannequins run about $100,000 dollars for the adult, it can sweat, it can cry, it can bleed, it has a pulse from head to toe.   Truly I am kind of like the puppet master.  I'm like the Wizard of Oz and that is the best description of it.  I'm the person behind the scenes, running the mannequin’s reactions to the care that is being given to them."

Matthew's background is actually in the theater and film industry.  His working knowledge of storytelling,  props, and special effects are exactly the tools he needs to create as realistic as possible simulations, and he says he can come up with just about any real-life scenario that can be imagined.  "We can do special makeup to make them look like a realistic trauma.  We just use things like makeup and blood gel on latex prosthetics.  The makeup itself is theater makeup like what they use in Hollywood films."  By the time his work is done, it’s   Hollywood real and the illusion doesn’t stop on the surface of the skin.  “We can actually put stuff under the skin to make it look like it's swollen, it's all about trying to create the realism and the effect of reality for our staff so when they are doing their training it's very immersive and very real."

You put it all together, and It’s just like putting a pilot in a simulator facing desperate circumstances for these medical professionals.  “We try to crash the plane, we try to find out what is the worst-case scenario that will make this be a failure and what's interesting is when that happens you see this team, the process is amazing of these great health care workers, working together to save this patient and you see their communication increase, you will see their process improvement increase.  When we do the training you want the medical staff to be able to look for injuries correctly and you want them to be able to assess it.  We are very fortunate that we have a sim lab built into the hospital; right now about the only thing these mannequins can't do is actually get up and walk around and move their arms and legs, so it's very realistic and gives us feedback on every aspect of the body, and the quality of care given.”

It all comes together to better save lives in the real world.  These medical professionals can learn many valuable lessons and teamwork without putting a single life on the line.  Sometimes the best way to learn is from mistakes, but a mistake is the last thing any medical professional ever wants to make when a life is literally in their hands.

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