"We were created to train healthcare professionals and to improve patient safety through simulation or with novel ways of teaching."

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In the heart of Bogotá, Colombia, the pioneering Fundación Instituto de Simulación Médica (INSIMED) has established a state-of-art simulation training facility with a mission to promote safety in healthcare. The center, which was built with $35 million USD in funding from the INSIMED foundation and the Dutch Foundation Aaspartam, is equipped with advanced surgical, imaging and patient simulators within simulated clinical settings.

“We were created to train healthcare professionals and to improve patient safety through simulation or with novel ways of teaching,” says Dr. Marco Angel, administrative director. “We want to be a center everyone can rely on in Latin America.”

The center offered several Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses and Maternal Fetal Life Support (MFLS) before its official opening in late September.

INSIMED is affiliated with Hospital Virtual Valdecilla in Santander, Spain and Harvard’s Center for Medical Simulation. Five full time staff operate the center, including Executive Director Dr. Guillermo Ortiz, Administrative Director Dr. Marco Angel, Biomedical Engineer and Operative Director Arturo Daniel Aceves, Commercial Director and Nurse Maria del Rosario Suarez and General Assistant Sandra Sandoval. Eight clinicians representing the fields of laparoscopic surgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, endoscopic surgery, obstetrics-gynecology and emergency medicine serve as faculty. Each faculty member has completed the Harvard Institute for Medical Simulation (IMS) Simulation Instructor Training, and the center is a certified American College of Surgeons Accredited Educational Institute (ASCAEI) training center.

“One of our main concerns is that our practitioners or residents train themselves with patients in their first years,” Dr. Angel said. “We want these people to go through 20, 30 or 40 cases on a simulator and face any kind of complication they might face first on a simulator. Any mistakes they were going to make in a patient can be made on a simulator so they can learn from the mistakes.”

With two floors dedicated to hands-on simulation training, the center houses a simulated Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that will have a CAE Healthcare Human Patient Simulator (HPS) in 2013. Additionally, the center will house an obstetrics room devoted to reducing infant mortality, a surgical floor with CAE Healthcare’s EndoVR, LapVR and CathLabVR surgical simulators, and the only da Vinci Surgical System in Latin America dedicated solely to training.

“One whole floor is equipped with 10 laparoscopic surgical towers in an in-vivo surgery lab designed to train all kinds of surgeons with biomodels,” Dr. Angel said. INSIMED is a self-sustaining facility with no revenues from government or grants while offering simulation courses for reasonable fees.

“We have training agreements with the main universities in Columbia and the main scientific societies, private companies and the main hospitals,” Dr. Angel said.

The center also plans to measure the results of its simulation training.

“It’s very difficult to run studies that measure patient safety,” Dr. Angel said. “Our first study will be a clinically controlled double- blind study on sepsis. We are going to train the intensive care unit residents here at INSIMED and the others won’t have training. Then we are going to try to see the differences.”