The University of North Texas Health Center at Fort Worth made history Thursday with the opening of the first virtual reality simulation center in Texas.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony – attended by Dr. Michael R. Williams, Rector of UNT and President of HSC, as well as HSC students, faculty and staff – was held to celebrate the new regional simulation center on the HSC campus. .
The regional simulation center uses state-of-the-art virtual reality immersion technology, in addition to realistic simulation mannequins, multifunctional spaces and more traditional virtual reality. The center’s technology can replicate virtually any healthcare scenario in a variety of disciplines and has applications for both medical students who need to learn new procedures in a low-risk environment and experienced healthcare providers who want to hone their skills. or acquire new ones.
“The opening of the new HSC regional simulation center is really exciting, as it is the first virtual reality simulation center in the state of Texas,” Williams said in a statement. “State-of-the-art technology will allow our students and healthcare providers to practice and learn new skills in the most realistic environment. This will ultimately benefit patients and increase patient safety. “
The $ 6.75 million facility is in a renovated space on the first floor of the Gibson D. Lewis Health Library of HSC at 955 Montgomery St. The new center is also open for training for hospital stay programs, emergency medical service providers, hospital staff, nursing home staff, clinical teams, first aid staff and more.
Many local stakeholders attended the inauguration of the center, including state representatives, members of the Fort Worth City Council and members of the UNT System Board and the UNTHSC Foundation Council.
“It’s an incredibly exciting day for the Health Center and Fort Worth,” said Michael Crane, a member of Fort Worth City Council, which represents District 3. “Impressive technology here will allow both current and future generations of health workers to learn and practice the skills they need to improve the overall quality of care at Fort Worth. This is a victory for our city. “
Guests were provided with a tour of the facility, and students were available to demonstrate the many state-of-the-art functions of the laboratory. Williams; Jessica Rangel, Executive Vice President of Health Systems; Karen Meadows, director of the center; and Amog Krishnagiri, a fourth-year student at HSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, all spoke during a brief ceremony to mark the occasion.
“The simulation played an important role in my journey to medical school,” said Krishnagiri, whose contribution, along with other students, was crucial to the design of the center. “The opportunity to practice skills and complex scenarios in an immersive and safe environment prepared me for these experiences in a clinical setting. As a future emergency physician, I will take advantage of the many procedural repetitions that I have had the privilege of receiving in these engaging, informative and fun settings.
“Adding the HSC Regional Simulation Center to our campus is a huge advantage for students at every level, no matter what their degree or specialty,” he continued. “The attention to detail, the focus on flexibility and the integration of technology will enable HSC to redefine what clinical education can be. It was an honor for me to be part of the planning process. ”
The center will open to visitors in early July. Prior to that, the HSC simulation team will be trained by professors from Harvard University’s Medical Simulation Center, one of the first such facilities in the world. The Harvard team brings more than two decades of experience and expertise to HSC staff.
The center is set up to provide a comprehensive simulation of health care with techniques derived from multiple disciplines and customized to the level and background of each learner. The lab’s fully immersive projection virtual reality component uses state-of-the-art 360-degree cameras that allow staff to transport students in workplace scenarios.
In addition to the virtual reality component, the 16,000-square-foot lab contains several key improvements over the former simulation center. The new center has 14 authentic-looking clinics for clinical examinations; a large, variable package of procedural skills; an apartment designed to look like the interior of the home; several multifunctional “team” rooms; and many classrooms where students can study. Many room functions can be resized, reconfigured and adapted to the needs of learners.
“The HSC Regional Simulation Center will not only improve healthcare outcomes and patient safety, but this state-of-the-art facility will also act as a beacon for prospective students in medical schools, technology companies and other entrepreneurs,” said Leonard Firestone, Representative of City Council for District 7, which includes the HSC campus. “The center will send a message to business owners that Fort Worth is embracing new ideas, emerging technologies and is not afraid to lead. The economic impact of this center can change the game for our city, as HSC strengthens its position as a leading health institute.