After years of working out of area schools, HealthSim United has a dedicated space at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita campus.
HealthSim, previously known as the Mid-Continent Center for Health Care Simulation, has been around for about five years and coordinates training for nursing and medical students across Wichita using computerized mannequins.
Usually, students do not train with others outside their profession. The idea is to make the training more realistic and have students work as a medical team to provide care.
In the past few years, the organization has helped train more than 1,400 people.
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“We think of it as a new model of health care, and it’s where we’re going in the future with more of a team concept,” said Mike Shepherd, HealthSim United operations director.
Proponents say simulation can increase safety and help reduce costs. The best example of simulation in the workforce is in aviation, said Gary Oborny, HealthSim United board chairman.
“You wouldn’t put an airline pilot in a jet with 200 passengers unless they’ve done a lot of training in simulators, because that’s not the place to train, in the air with 200 lives,” he said.
HealthSim has expanded its programming over the past year.
Several members of the organization, including some faculty members from area colleges, have pursued certifications to teach health care simulations, Shepherd said.
The idea for a dedicated simulation center came about in 2007 with a small group of medical professionals who wanted to assess the local health community’s use of simulation.
The move to a dedicated space is a step closer to the group’s eventual goal of having a permanent space after it further expands its program, perhaps in three years or so, Oborny said.
Initially, the group had discussed building a dedicated space downtown. Previous estimates for a building were about $15 million, with annual operation costs of about $2 million.
The lease for the 1,500-square-foot space at the KU center, 1010 N. Kansas, Suite 2211, is on a year-to-year basis in what used to be the educational technology department, Shepherd said.
The new lab, which is being developed in conjunction with KU, would be left behind for the school to use when HealthSim finds a permanent space.
The organization was granted nonprofit status by the IRS last year, Shepherd said.
For more information, visit www.healthsimunited.org.
HealthSim United open house
An open house for the new HealthSim United space will be 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday at 1010 N. Kansas, Suite 2211. There will be refreshments and a health simulation activity.