Gaumard Scientific, a Florida-based patient simulator company, has developed an advanced multidisciplinary patient simulator – the HAL S5301. Given the strain placed on healthcare systems by the pandemic, training with a robot may let more clinicians focus on patients rather than medical students, and help reduce the risk of viral transmission posed to healthcare staff and patients.
However, there are a host of other benefits. This next-generation adult male simulator introduces robotics, AI-powered speech, and leading-edge simulated physiology and anatomy to medical education. The robot can understand what medical staff are saying and can respond, using the power of AI.
Medgadget had the opportunity to talk to James Archetto, Vice President of Gaumard Scientific, about this latest simulator the company has created, as well as the value it brings to the healthcare industry.
Conn Hastings, Medgadget: Please give us an overview of Gaumard Scientific and the patient simulation technologies you have developed to date.
James Archetto, Gaumard Scientific: Gaumard Scientific is a family-owned company based in Miami, FL. The company was founded in the late 1940s by a British physician who was looking at ways of enhancing medical education. Over the years, Gaumard has emerged from a very small company, into a company that has completely revolutionized the simulation industry.
In the past, there were basic skills trainers which a learner would, for example, practice inserting an IV cannula or learn CPR. While those skills trainers still exist, there has been substantial change, and Gaumard pioneered that change. For example, Gaumard was the first company to offer tetherless simulation, meaning these simulators were not tied to AC power. They’re powered by a battery. That meant that the simulation could take place anywhere, because accidents and emergencies don’t always take place in a hospital.
Likewise, Gaumard was the first company to pioneer wireless technology, meaning that the simulator and the computer that controls it are not connected by a wire. The educator could now be a fair distance from the learner who is treating this simulated patient, whether they be in the hospital, the emergency department, the ambulance, or in the field. This provides a tremendous opportunity for learning in very real situations.
Medgadget: What are the advantages of patient simulators in clinical training? How do they compare with real patients?
James Archetto: Patient simulators provide substantial advantages over a real patient. In certain training scenarios, actors are used and there are certain conditions that an actor or a real patient can replicate, for example, an actor can act confused or tired. However, there are certain clinical conditions that just can’t be replicated either by an actor or by a real patient, such as stroke or childbirth
It is the repetition of practicing a scenario over and over where clinical simulators really shine. With a real patient, a learner only gets one chance to experience a scenario. A learner will have practiced a low-frequency, high-risk scenario numerous times. The learner now has that muscle memory to be prepared for a particular complication so they can employ the necessary critical thinking skills. That is why simulators are used extensively in the aviation industry with airline pilots and flight simulators.
With simulation, learners get to practice those challenging situations many times so that when that clinical complication arises, they are prepared for it and can execute the procedure as they have done many times before in practice.
Medgadget: Please give us an overview of the new HAL S5301. What are its features, and what disease states can it simulate?
James Archetto: HAL S5301 represents a sea change in clinical simulation, and it’s not only its features, but it’s its interactivity with the learner and the educator who is controlling that. One of the key contributors that HAL S5301 provides to learners is its ability to emulate the clinical conditions of stroke. That has never been available in medical simulation.
HAL now has the ability for his face to droop, for his eyes to react, for his arm to move, and he has the underlying physiology to enable a learner to understand what stroke conditions look like. HAL can be used with real medical equipment. For example, learners can see his EKG, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure.
The learner can put all of this complex information together and understand the patient symptoms presented and can practice this scenario repeatedly. In addition, HAL incorporates ultrasound, which is a common diagnostic tool in ICU, CCU and the Emergency Department. A learner can assess HAL’s clinical conditions and see if he is exhibiting jaundice, if there is a problem with fatty liver, or even if HAL has a gunshot wound, does he have a lacerated liver or a ruptured spleen? Simulation training like this has never been available before with a full-size adult simulator and it is these features combined with the ability to work with the learner and the educator that separate HAL from every other clinical simulator that exists today.
Medgadget: What role does AI play in the system and how does it enhance the training experience?
James Archetto: Gaumard has been at the forefront of using technology in simulation to improve the experience for learners and ultimately improve their training. Wireless / tetherless simulators, controlled by computers and tablets are some examples. In addition, miniaturization of electronics has allowed the development of neonatal and even premature infant simulators. And the next step of course, is AI, which utilizes our proprietary operating system, called UNI, that controls our simulators.
HAL utilizes AI to learn from the students and educators who are using these simulators. His verbal responses can improve because HAL is actually learning based on the aggregation of all the clinical simulations that are taking place.
HAL’s ability to get “smarter” provides an enhanced experience for the learner. The learner now enjoys the benefit of all of the HAL simulators that are in use and all of the simulations that are aggregated into the UNI operating system. That ultimately provides a better learning experience and provides better competence for the next generation of learners that are using HAL.
Medgadget: How do clinicians and medical students react to the simulators? Where are they used at present?
James Archetto: These simulators are being used in every aspect of medical education including nursing schools, medical schools, online courses, training at hospitals for both attending physicians and nurses, first responders, and the military. The training takes place everywhere – from hospital settings to accident scenes, to the battlefield.
There have been so many responses from learners and educators who have said that a Gaumard simulator was used in a particular clinical simulation and training exercise and the very next week a patient presented with that very problem and the staff had to treat that patient.
“If we hadn’t gone through this training with your simulator, we don’t know what the outcome would have been, but because we trained using your simulator, the outcome came out positively,” they tell us.
That’s the impact that we seek to have, and that’s why we do this every day; to ensure that the simulators accurately represent these complicated low-frequency, high-risk clinical conditions and that the learners can then apply those skills in the very situations that they’ve trained so hard for.
Link: Gaumard Scientific