RVH marks ‘historic day in medical technology’ after $1 million gift

Barrie-based Innovative Automation is stepping up to help the RVH Foundation’s Keep Life Wild campaign to advance immersive medical education at the local hospital

It may look like a video game, but the new technology at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Center (RVH) is really a high-tech educational tool that will help put the local hospital at the top of its field.

This technology was made possible following the announcement by Barrie-based manufacturing company Innovative Automation that they will donate $1 million to the RVH Foundation’s Keep Life Wild campaign to help advance immersive medical education at Barrie Hospital.

The money will be used to create the Innovative Automation Simulation Lab, a state-of-the-art medical training center focused on integrating high-fidelity mannequin and virtual reality (VR) simulation technologies. It will also allow medical teams to practice their skills in hyper-realistic environments.

“Today is a historic day for medical innovation in Ontario. This is an important day for the health of our community, now and in the future,” RVH Foundation CEO Pamela Ross told the crowd gathered at Innovative Automation’s Welham Road facility in south Barry. “This is a celebration not only of the generosity of this organization and its leaders, but also a celebration of innovation.”

Education and research are extremely important to RVH, said President and CEO Gail Hunt BarrieTodaynoting that this technology allows the organization to provide a much more realistic and sophisticated educational tool.

“What’s particularly important about this now … is that with all the challenges related to human resources in healthcare, the industry is experiencing (we’re) finding the need to provide more education to staff than ever before, as well as to provide staff with the opportunity to deal with situations they might not see as often,” she said.

“Sustaining Innovative Automation recognizes the impact education has on staff and patients. If you don’t get to practice these things before the real event happens, it makes a big difference in confidence and outcome for patients,” added Hunt.

Hunt, who has worked in the field for more than 20 years, said she has seen significant changes in the way health care is delivered over the course of her career.

“When I started about 24 years ago, just getting mannequins was super exciting, and when we moved to mannequins, you could program and run simulations, that was super exciting, but going to this level … you can see the future where people will just be going into the home and doing these things virtually, which will really help spread education much faster,” she said.

This type of technology, Hunt added, could also help support doctors in rural and remote areas.

“They will have someone to walk them through things. You can see the stages it will go through and exponentially how it will benefit patients around the world,” she said.

Innovative Automation founder and CEO Steve Loftus, along with president Mike Lalonde, admitted it only took them a few days to come to the decision to make the donation to help bring this technology to the local hospital.

“When the foundation reached out with this initiative, it aligned with what we’re trying to do in our company (and) in our community,” Loftus said. BarrieToday. “The solution didn’t take long once we got the alignment right.”

This initiative is also in line with two of the company’s pillars, he added.

“What RVH is trying to do here is what we’re trying to do with our own employees, to have continuous training so that it allows them to offer a skill set that exceeds anyone else that’s in their space,” Loftus said. “Then they can run (their) industry the same way we do with our employees.”

The second pillar, he added, is to lead locally and help improve their community.

“It will enrich our community because it offers better service to everyone. When you get those matches between what we’re trying to do as a corporation and what we see at RVH, it’s an easy decision,” Loftus said. “I literally did the demo, came back, and we made a decision the next morning. I called them and shocked them.”

Officials say this investment will position RVH as a leader in immersive VR medical education. Simulations can be customized to match the physical layouts and equipment configurations of the healthcare center, as well as reproduce complex medical scenarios. It will also integrate team-based immersive learning experiences for major trauma and other highly specialized situations.

“Over the past year, we have seen the potential for virtual reality to combine with our existing simulation program to be truly innovative in the way education happens. This is going to be the future … and it’s the way it’s going for a lot of industries,” said Dr. Chris Martin, who is the hospital’s chief and medical director of critical care, director of education as well as co-medical director (trauma). .

Martin says he’s excited to see what the future of medicine holds, recounts BarrieToday he has witnessed significant changes during his career.

“I started my medical career right before a lot of the high-tech stuff. You can see the potential and how education has changed,” he said. “It sounds scary, but when I was trained it was ‘see one, do one, learn one.’ This was not a safe way to learn and medical simulation offered us a safer way to practice in this high risk environment rather than being on a patient with your senior doctor one day.

“Seeing that and seeing the ability to not only train yourself and the staff, but (also) train as a team … any technology that enables that will make you a leader (because) it’s hard to do these large team simulations on site and that “We’re going to facilitate that,” Martin added.

“We’re right on the cusp of a huge rise of this technology integrating into all aspects of health care, where we’re a little bit behind in incorporating these kinds of things.” It’s exciting to be at the forefront of healthcare operations in the country.”

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