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PR- 515-09
November 30, 2009


New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is the First Public Hospital System in the Nation to Feature Leading-Edge Training Technology to Improve Clinical Learning, Patient Care and Patient Safety

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) President Alan D. Aviles today announced the start of construction of the nation's first among public hospitals, and New York City’s largest, most advanced medical training technology center, which will offer hands-on simulation and training to improve clinical learning, patient care and patient safety. The HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning, a $10-million, 10,000 square foot facility, will replicate emergency rooms, operating rooms and other patient care settings to help healthcare provider teams and individuals learn, practice and master skills, making the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation the first public hospital system in the nation to have such a high-tech training center. Mayor Bloomberg and HHC President Aviles were joined for the announcement at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens by Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs; the Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning Director Dr. Haru Okuda; Elmhurst Hospital Executive Director Chris Constantino; Health and Hospitals Corporation’s Queens Health Network Senior Vice President Dr. Ann Sullivan; and a team of doctors and nurses who demonstrated a simulated cardiac arrest on a high-tech mannequin.

"There's been a truly remarkable turnaround in New York City's public hospitals in recent years, and this Center represents the latest in a number of major advancements in patient safety, technology and innovation we've brought to our public healthcare system," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The long list of citations and awards for the quality of patient care that New York City's public hospitals have received from their fellow medical professionals is a testament to the progress we've made.  And, today we're taking a major step toward making patient care even better and safer."

The Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning's program and curriculum will be modeled after similar medical learning centers at Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic and North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System.  The facility, expected to be completed by fall 2010, will be located on the campus of Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. In recent years, the Health and Hospitals Corporation has received numerous awards and recognitions for quality and patient safety achievements from leading national safety organizations, the American Hospital Association, the National Quality Forum, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the World Health Organization, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

"This medical training institute is another concrete demonstration of excellence and innovation in our public hospital system and of the Health and Hospital Corporation's commitment to being at the forefront of patient safety," said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. "The investments that we have made in our public hospitals are helping position the agency as a national model in the post-health reform environment and as a leader in safety, technology, and effective preventive healthcare." 

"Clinical teams often confront emergency situations requiring quick and precise communication, expert coordination and a high degree of technical skill," said HHC President Aviles.  "Just as pilots master complexity through cockpit simulators, HHC's new medical simulation center will better train our staff to function as high-performing clinical team members in a wide variety of highly realistic, demanding medical scenarios."

The Center will be equipped with numerous technological features, which include:

  • Eleven high-fidelity, computer operated mannequins that have heartbeats, breathe, and sweat, and which can simulate a wide range of medical conditions and biological responses to treatment;
  • The use of "standardized" patients - specially trained actors who role-play as patients and family members to help healthcare providers refine communication and interpersonal skills;
  • "Part-task" trainers which are smaller simulation equipment that mimics parts of the human body used to practice central line placements, difficult airway interventions like inserting tubes to inject oxygen into lungs, and managing complications in pregnancy and childbirth;
  • A digital audio-visual system that transmits and records practice scenarios in Operating Room care, Emergency Room code response and other simulated environments to facilitate learning
  • Control rooms for each of the simulation rooms where instructors can remotely operate the mannequins;
  • Classroom space where instructors can debrief and review the recorded practice scenarios with learners.

The Center, which will be run by 14 medical and training professionals once it is fully operational, will train more than 14,000 medical, nursing and other HHC staff during the first 3 years.  The Health and Hospitals Corporation also plans to make the Center available to clinical teams outside the public hospitals system. While the Center is under construction, the Health and Hospitals Corporation will conduct a mobile skills-training program that offers on site courses at each of its 11 public hospitals.  Classes to refresh and master skills in central line placement, emergency airway management, and shoulder dystocia management will be offered to residents, attending physicians, and nurses from Emergency, Surgical, Obstetrical and Medical Services.

"I am excited at the opportunity to run the City's first comprehensive medical simulation center and the only one of its kind among public hospitals across the country," said HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning Director Dr. Haru Okuda. "I look forward to helping thousands of our clinical and nursing staff to practice the skills they already have, to learn new ones, and to master the latest innovative techniques in health care."

"The creation of this sophisticated training Institute places this leading public healthcare system in the forefront of patient safety and education methods," said Harvard Medical School Center for Medical Simulation Executive Director Jeffrey B. Cooper, Ph.D.  "The newly developing capability will provide a platform for teaching critical patient safety skills, especially in those areas where adverse events are most likely to occur. We at the Center for Medical Simulation, one of the world's leading and most innovative healthcare simulation organizations, are proud to be working with the HHC team to build this outstanding and exciting foundation for education and patient safety." 

"I have seen first hand the power of simulation-based training methods to hone providers' technical and teamwork skills without risk to patients and its benefits in interdisciplinary simulation to reproduce hospital environments and teams," said North Shore LIJ Patient Safety Institute Medical Director Thomas Kwiatkowski, M.D. "We look forward to partnering with HHC to further harness this power and drive patient safety and quality improvement initiatives within the New York City metropolitan area through collaboration and research."

"The HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning promises to directly impact the quality and safety of healthcare. In the emergency department, successful patient care depends upon critical teamwork and medical decision making under extreme time pressure," said Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Simulation Academy Chair Rosemarie Fernandez, M.D.  "Simulation-based training will allow emergency healthcare teams to practice providing the highest level of care under the most difficult circumstances without risk to patients. HHC is clearly poised to be a leader in healthcare simulation on regional and national levels."

About the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is a $6.3 billion integrated healthcare delivery system and the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and nearly 450,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides health services at home for New Yorkers.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

Ana Marengo   (Health and Hospitals Corporation)
(212) 788-3386

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