This summer Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) unveiled its new ultrasound simulator (CAE VIMEDIX), which will, for the first time, give resident physicians at JMH access to the most comprehensive ultrasound simulator in the Southeast region and the opportunity to see what really goes on in the human body. The $126,000 purchase was made possible through CIR’s Housestaff Involvement Fund, the contractually negotiated fund dedicated to improvements in patient care and resident education and training. To learn more about the project, we caught up with Dr. Matt Carlile, chief neurology resident at JMH, former CIR Regional Vice President and current delegate. Dr. Carlile, working with other CIR delegates at JMH, helped drive the purchase of the new training tool.
How will the new ultrasound simulator improve patient care?
At the heart, this was a patient safety decision that we made because the training module will help residents practice procedures before they go to do them on a patient.
What has the Housestaff Involvement Fund enabled you to do?
The hospital administration was in charge of approving or not approving equipment purchases through our previous Patient Care Fund. Under our new Housestaff Involvement Fund framework, CIR delegates and other hospital staff can now submit applications for equipment purchases and patient care projects, and right out of the gate, the ultrasound simulator was one of the projects that had support from several departments, including two of JMH’s largest departments: Anesthesiology and OB/GYN. We knew this big ticket item would be a nice opportunity to bring a lot of players together and make a big splash. Because the project received such a wide array of support, things moved rather quickly. JMH is now the first hospital to have this particular simulator model.
The purchase truly accomplishes all of our goals for the housestaff fund.
What role would you say medical residents played in spearheading this effort?
Residents played a major role in deciding to purchase the new simulator. CIR delegates submitted the proposal idea and made the decision to approve the funding. A JMH faculty member was involved in the process and helped organize the purchase, but the idea and effort was very much resident-driven. CIR residents want to build quality improvement from the ground up, and we see a lot of areas for improvement that people from the outside may not see.
What types of patients will benefit most from JMH residents being trained this way?
Any patient at our trauma center will undoubtedly benefit, especially those with injury to the abdomen. Patients requiring obstetric or gynecological care, patients in the ICU, or patients requiring heart echoes will also benefit a great deal. The simulation provides vivid, life-like and high-resolution color imaging to assist in diagnosing a variety of medical issues, so across the board, many in our patient population will see value in this.
Why is this so important? Aren’t residents already being adequately trained to administer and analyze ultrasounds?
We have books that describe for residents what an ultrasound image may look like. They are even shown photographs of it. But until you see the image in real life, you don’t really know what it will be like. This tool will give residents the anatomical images they wouldn’t otherwise have access to. By the time residents finish with the simulation training, they will have the opportunity to be able to physically perform the procedures.
You learn best by caring for patients. This cutting edge tool facilitates that in a safe way. And any level of increased comfort you create for residents is a benefit to both the doctor and patient.