March 10, 2014

Health care simulation center adopting new name

The Mid-Continent Center for Health Care Simulation is getting a new name to reflect its mission, its executive director said Monday.

The Mid-Continent Center for Health Care Simulation is getting a new name to reflect its mission, its executive director said Monday.

Paul Uhlig, a cardiothoracic surgeon and the executive director, said the new name – HealthSim United – reflects the organization’s mission and is easier to remember.

“Our board felt that a name that truly spoke to the collaborative nature of what we’re doing would be very important,” Uhlig said.

The simulation center, which has been around for about five years, works to coordinate training for nursing and medical students at different schools in the Wichita area.

Usually, students do not train with others outside their profession, but the idea is to make it more like real life – where they work as a medical team to provide care.

It has expanded programming over the past year with the hopes of eventually having a building of its own. HealthSim United is using smaller labs across Wichita until it can secure funding for its own training site. Preparatory work is being done now for a capital campaign, Uhlig said.

At a downtown Rotary Club meeting on Monday, Uhlig talked about the impact that simulation has on health care and how the organization is partnering with schools throughout the area that are teaching future medical providers.

“It’s easy to talk about simulation here in Wichita,” Uhlig said.

“We are an aviation community to our core, and if you are in aviation at any level beyond just the initial level, you are using some form of simulation to get better, to practice things, to create very realistic experiences that in the real world carry extraordinary risk but in simulation carry no risk at all. ... It allows you to experience things not only until you get it right but until you cannot get it wrong.”

Simulation in health care can also help reduce costs and increase safety, Uhlig said.

In the next couple of months, HealthSim United plans to take a group of local leaders to Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center in Peoria, Ill., to learn how it raised funds and to also give local leaders a chance to see a simulation center in action.

“We’ve really been looking across the country where we could take leaders to jump start our efforts,” Uhlig said.

“In many ways it’s a lot like Wichita, and they’ve received several philanthropic donations to build and extraordinary center – the first was to build the center itself and the second is to begin to connect health professionals with the engineering community to begin to develop innovative types of connections between health care workers and the engineers at the University of Illinois.”

HealthSim United is currently awaiting designation as a nonprofit with the IRS.

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