SEATTLE, March 15, 2007 – Swedish will soon begin installation of the Pacific Northwest's first pediatric and perinatal simulation center specifically designed to advance the skills of already well-trained health-care teams in critical clinical situations. Once construction is completed in 2008, the center will allow highly specialized medical teams to perfect their skills efficiently at scheduled training sessions, without the involvement of real – and very vulnerable – pediatric patients.
Seattle residents Cheryl and Bill Gossman donated $1 million toward the establishment of what will be known as the Gossman Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Simulation. The Moyer Foundation, created by former Seattle Mariners pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen, contributed $250,000. The Swedish Foundation anticipates raising the final $400,000 for construction of the project at the annual "Celebrate Swedish" gala dinner auction on Saturday evening, March 24. They will also continue to raise gifts for a $1 million endowment to sustain the center.
Slated to be built near the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and other pediatric facilities on Swedish's First Hill Campus (which amount to more than 100 pediatric beds between the medical center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, NICU, Infant Special Care Unit, and Pediatric Medical and Surgical units) the Gossman Center will include realistic medical spaces that replicate exam rooms and surgical suites. Computer-controlled, child-sized mannequins will be used to simulate medical conditions and scenarios by displaying lifelike medical symptoms and real-time physiological responses. Among many other processes, teams of care providers will train in neonatal intubation, umbilical catheterization and chest compression.
"This facility will greatly reduce the need for real-patient pediatric training and the discomfort and risk that involves for sick children. We have very seasoned physicians and nurses at Swedish who, unlike medical residents and students, don't have to learn their technical skills," said Greg Sorensen, M.D., director of Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care. "The life-like simulation technology will allow them to practice teamwork, coordination and effective communication skills. This model has been well demonstrated to improve the reaction times and flawless performance of teams in other high-risk, high-stress professions like aeronautics and space exploration."
Swedish is the largest provider of obstetrical, neonatal, and pediatric services in the Pacific Northwest and its NICU is among a handful of Level-III nurseries in Washington state. "Each year we care for more than 700 premature or sick newborns that face life-threatening medical conditions at the beginning of their lives," Dr. Sorensen said. "Many of these children must be monitored for years and may need follow-up exams, treatments or surgeries in order to become healthy adults."
Traditionally, medical professionals perfected their skills by working with real patients under the supervision of more experienced practitioners. But this model requires that patients be a part of the teaching process, which can sometimes pose challenges. Such challenges can be particularly high with infants and children, whose small bodies, developing systems and low margins for absorbing physiological and metabolic stress make it vital that they receive the undivided attention of experienced caregivers.
Elements of the Gossman Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Simulation will likely include:
- Life-sized, simulated patient mannequins representing infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents. Each is integrated with hardware and software that creates preplanned training scenarios mirroring clinical situations that call for rapid response by medical teams.
- Mannequins that replicate human sounds made by the lungs, heart or bowel. They will blink, bleed, drool, exhale, inhale, urinate, "talk" to practitioners like a real child and, in the case of infant mannequins, cry in response to stimuli.
- A technologically advanced control room adjacent to the training areas where clinical team leaders and a coordinator can oversee simulations.
- A conference room for video projections, debriefing and follow-up activities; as well as office space for simulation facility staff and storage areas.
While the center's advanced technology will allow medical teams to engage – both intellectually and emotionally – in the life-like simulation training scenarios, the real learning will occur during the debriefing process. This is where the medical teams will evaluate their own performance via reviewing video and discussing how teamwork and clinical performance can be improved.
Although similar simulation training technologies have been available in certain adult specialties (i.e., anesthesiology, surgery, cardiology and critical care) for some time, it has only been within the past few years that this technology has been extended to infant and pediatric models.
After the Gossman Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Simulation is fully operational and training modules have been tested and validated, Swedish will make training on the technology available to neonatal and pediatric practitioners from other hospitals, emergency medical services, ambulance operators, and home health providers across the region.
"We should all be so proud to have this state-of-the-art facility coming to our great community to raise the standard of care for children and babies in severe medical distress," said Karen Moyer, co-founder of The Moyer Foundation. "The Moyer Foundation's mission is to support children in severe distress, and on behalf of the Foundation, we are thrilled to support the creation of the Center for Advanced Pediatric and Perinatal Simulation at Swedish."
About the Gossman Family
Cheryl and Bill Gossman have multiple connections to Swedish. They moved to Seattle from the Washington, D.C. area in 1998 and two of their three children – now ages 9, 8 and 6 – were born at Swedish. Trained in health-care administration, Cheryl Gossman worked at Swedish for three years as director of physician practice management. Since then, she has actively supported the Swedish Foundation through countless volunteer hours as both a Foundation Board member for the past four years and as vice chair over the last year.
"Having been in health care for a long time, I'm a firm believer in excellence," Cheryl said. "Whenever physicians have an opportunity to excel – to improve their level of care – that benefits everyone in the community."
Bill Gossman is an engineer, venture capitalist and entrepreneur who has led the creation of two successful tech-based businesses in the Seattle area, @Mobile and his current firm, Revenue Science. Early in his career, Gossman worked with flight simulators and he thoroughly understands the value of being prepared for life-critical situations.
"An awful lot of work goes into health care and technology can certainly improve medical outcomes," Bill said. "This project goes way beyond technology, though, because it also focuses on process improvement and better teamwork."
Last year, Cheryl Gossman traveled with Dr. Sorensen to where this technology was developed – the Center for Advanced Pediatric Education at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. – to see the simulation system in action. "It was amazing to watch. Everyone in the scenario responded as if it were an actual critical situation," she said. "Each caregiver did exactly what you wanted them to do."
"Swedish is deeply honored to have received major grants from the Gossmans and The Moyer Foundation in support of pediatric medical teams," Dr. Sorensen said. "These funds will have a direct and profound effect on the lives of vulnerable and seriously ill children throughout our region."
Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive, nonprofit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill (formerly Providence) and Ballard – a freestanding emergency room and specialty center in Issaquah, Swedish Home Care Services and Swedish Physicians – a network of 12 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org
About The Moyer Foundation
The Moyer Foundation was founded in July 2000 by Major League All-Star pitcher, Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen. The Foundation's mission is to provide comfort and support to children enduring a time of profound physical, emotional or financial distress. The Moyer Foundation has raised over $10 million to help support over 100 different organizations that help children in distress. Grant support helps organizations purchase supplies, staff programs and provide direct assistance to children in severe distress. In addition to supporting organizations through grants, The Moyer Foundation created and funds several key initiatives, including Camp Erin, the largest national network of bereavement camps for children and teens; The Gregory Fund (in partnership with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center) for early cancer-detection research; and The Moyer Foundation Endowment for Excellence in Pediatric Palliative Care for Seattle's Children's Hospital. For more information on The Moyer Foundation, go to www.moyerfoundation.org
- To read a related article that the Puget Sound Business Journal posted on their Web site on March 16, click here.