This year’s winning poster presentation at the Human Patient Simulation Network (HPSN) World Conference held in San Francisco was championed by a team of UKZN academics from the Department of Anaesthetics. 

The team are all based at the multimillion rand Simulated Modules in Anaesthesia and Resuscitation Training (Smart) Centre which was officially launched at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital as one of a kind in Africa. 

They demonstrated that hi-fidelity simulation could be actively utilised in large audiences with a satisfactory outcome despite literature studies showing that simulation generally involves smaller group sizes. 

Human patient simulators represent the latest in state-of-the-art simulation technology to train medical personnel at all levels of medical education without risk to patients, to cut mistakes by professionals and, when errors happen, to find out why. 

At its launch, the Smart Centre became home to STAN – a sophisticated human patient simulator valued at R2.8m with its name being an abbreviation of Standard Man. 

Denoting the significance of some of the work to be done at the centre, STAN spends its days crashing into all manner of medical trauma such as heart attacks, asthma attacks, blocked airways, and collapsed lungs, among others. 

In March 2009 the SMART Centre was tasked with designing and implementing an innovative way of using its newly acquired METI HPS simulator in a setting to accommodate a large number of participants in a single session during the annual CME scientific meeting of The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists at the ICC in Durban. 

A carefully designed malignant hyperthermia scenario using STAN as the patient was designed with 11 slides involving participation by the audience. Using an interactive voting system, Digivote, the Department was able to adequately engage the audience of over 50 participants in actively managing the chosen “patient”. The results of the Digivote were displayed on the large screens in the venue and consensus was sought before proceeding to the next stage of the managed patient. 

Mr Naren Bhimsan, Manager of the Smart Centre said: ‘This method (presented at the Conference) improves accessibility of full function patient simulators to a previously untargeted audience at CME functions.’ 

HPSN World 2013 united over 1 000 international healthcare simulation experts to share best practices and see new simulation technologies.  ‘This helps to optimise our simulation learning environment and see the latest in healthcare simulation technology,’ said Bhimsan. 

The Smart Centre presentation was masterminded by Bhimsan and his colleagues: Dr Eric Hodgson, Dr Christian Kampik and Dr Dean Gopalan. They said the audience-driven procedure was a unique and highly beneficial way of engaging over 50 people to one simulator; and this opened new doors for innovative teaching and learning. 

In partnership with international companies, AstraZeneca and Baxter, the Smart Centre already trains medical doctors who fly in on Saturdays, in addition to training fourth-year MBChB students, postgraduates and healthcare professionals such as nurses. 

Bhimsan was proud to announce that in addition to STAN they had a “baby version”. The Anaesthetics Department looks forward to the official launch of another Smart Centre at Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg – another of UKZN’s teaching hospitals. 

Bhimsan said Grey’s Hospital was already home to a portable version of STAN which could be transported between the theatres and the ICU, and between hospitals for enhanced teaching practices.

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