HHC to open simulation center

Employees at city Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) facilities will soon have a new, state-of-the-art medical simulation training center

On Monday, November 30, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and HHC President Alan Aviles helped make the announcement for the $10 million facility, which will be located at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. Construction on the new facility has already begun, and officials believe it will open in the fall of 2010.

“There’s been a truly remarkable turnaround in New York City’s public hospitals in recent years, and this Center represents the latest in a number of major advancements in patient safety, technology and innovation we’ve brought to our public healthcare system,” said Mayor Bloomberg, who made the announcement at Elmhurst Hospital Center – another HHC facility.

The 10,000 square-foot facility will be designed to replicate emergency rooms, operating rooms and other patient care settings to help healthcare provider teams improve communication and teamwork and individuals learn and master skills. It is being modeled after a few simulated medical learning centers throughout the country including one at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System.

The simulation center that will open in the Bronx will have an emphasis on technology, with 11 computer-operated mannequins that can range from $20,000 to $250,000 and have heartbeats, breathe and sweat – and can simulate medical conditions and biological responses to treatment.

The center also contains a digital audio-visual system that transmits and records practice scenarios in operating and emergency rooms, as well as classroom space for instructors to debrief and review simulations with employees.

“I look forward to helping thousands of our clinical and nursing staff to practice the skills they already have, to learn new ones, and to master the latest innovative techniques in health care,” said HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning Director Dr. Haru Okuda, who will be in charge of the operation center, which is expected to train more than 14,000 HHC staff during its first three years.

During the end of the announcement, a group of doctors, nurses and medical staff simulated an emergency, having one of the mannequins set up as a patient who was experiencing cardiac arrest. After going through a number of procedures, the doctors summoned the help of Bloomberg, who stepped in and started pumping the mannequin’s chest to help revive him.

“I had great confidence that I could save this patient,” joked Bloomberg, who talked about being a full-service mayor.