Simulation equipment is often prohibitively expensive. More so for smaller remote settings and developing countries. Reducing costs is essential to increase widespread uptake of high-fidelity simulation tools.
We describe the evolution of a cooperative simulation model development team incorporating the local Emergency Medicine Department clinical staff and local Secondary school pupils. This was a symbiotic relationship that utilised the clinical expertise of the doctors while giving the students project management experience while using the significant resources of the schools for physical product development. Roughly 15,000 tracheostomies are performed each year in the UK. After looking further in depth at emergency tracheostomies, we recognised a gap in this area of healthcare training . Consequently, developing a surgical airway trainer was selected as the model to produce over the course of an academic year. The partnership project required infrequent visit from the clinical team to inform on clinical particulars and review model progression. Ultimately 2 models were selected from various prototypes to take to completion. These represented 3 core areas we wished to develop. The first model was a high-fidelity model completed using latest technology available in the school’s workshops. The second was built with minimal technology and aimed to be reproducible following simple instructions with widely available materials and be completely biodegradable.
This project resulted in successful development of two surgical airway models – both clinically and anatomically accurate, reusable, which deliver high quality simulation to a group of doctors and students at the local hospital. Both models are easily reproducible with minimal skills, but varied in both the detail and tools required to produce and degree of sustainability. Maximum cost of materials was £15.
Partnership with local schools gives hospitals access to resources not otherwise available that can lead to the development of innovative simulation models that can significantly reduce the cost of simulation. Both parties gain significantly from this partnership. Going forwards we aim to continue the partnership with aims to develop a central line training model over the next academic year.
1. Taylor C. Training for tracheostomy. BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia. 2013;111(5):842–843.