Health IT

Tablet transforms mannequins into real-life bedside experience for nursing + med students

from Motion Computing

from Motion Computing

More than 3,000 students on their way to becoming nurses, doctors and paramedics are using mobile health trends to bring mannequins to life. Simply replacing a computer with a tablet has allowed the staff to simulate real-life bedside experience much more realistically at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas.

Using Gaumard‘s simulation mannequins and software, plus tablets from Motion Computing, teachers can leave students alone in the room with the “patient” rather than lord over them and affect the outcome at the simulated point of care. The instructor can control the mannequin and watch the interaction from anywhere in the building.

According to a press release:

Today, Motion tablets are equipped with Gaumard software designed to power the mannequins’ actions through radio frequency and monitor vital signs through a Wi-Fi connection.  The communication, power supply, and compressor remain inside the mannequin, making the training more comparable to working with a real patient.

“We had (previously) used a different company and with that company they had laptops that had to be connected to the mannequin, so the instructor had to be sitting right next to the mannequin at the bedside,” Abigail Rodriguez, the operation manager of the HP Skills and Simulation Lab at McLennan, said. “In order to simulate better, the students really need to feel that they’re by themselves.”

The simulations help students learn how to deal with emergency situations — like a major wound or heart attack — and long-term care — like treating patients with chronic disease.

Motion Computing Director of Channel Marketing at Motion Computing Carol Rylander said healthcare tablets have specific needs, especially for rugged use. While she couldn’t speak toward the specifications of this tablet with Guamard, the company’s tablets run anywhere from about $1,200 to $3,500. Such tablets need to be more secure than the average consumer tablet, of course. But they also need stability unlike consumer tablets — they can’t decide to update during the middle of a simulation, so the company has created tablets that require updates only every 12 to 24 months. They can be built so they are disinfectable and outdoor viewable.

For this particular project, Rylander said, the processing power of a very powerful computer and the convenience and portability of a tablet needed to be combined. She called it “a healthcare and field device in one.”

It seems to be a success story of merging mobile health trends and medical education, one Rodriguez expects to see much more of in the near future.

“It’s brought more realism into our scenarios, which then allows a student to think independently and more critically,” she said.

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