Patient safety gets boost with $10 million grant


CLEVELAND--With a $10 million grant from the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, Case Western Reserve University will create one of the world's foremost centers for patient safety--using the most advanced forms of simulation-based medical training.

The Case School of Medicine's new Mt. Sinai Center for Medical Simulation aims to reduce medical errors that result in an estimated 100,000 deaths annually in this country by teaching students about patient care and by offering continuing medical education for health care professionals in the workplace.

Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation's largest ever grant award was finalized earlier this week. "For the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation, this cutting edge project exemplifies the highest standard of patient care, medical training and research that were the hallmarks of The Mt. Sinai Medical Center," said Robert S. Reitman, outgoing board chair of the foundation. "The grant demonstrates once again the century-old commitment that the Cleveland Jewish Community feels and expresses through action for our neighbors as well as mankind." Reitman noted that facilitating collaboration among Cleveland's major medical institutions was a strong motivating factor in the foundation's decision, as was the return of academic medicine to the former Mt. Sinai campus.

"The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation's grant focuses the efforts of the entire Cleveland medical community on health care quality and the development of innovative strategies to ensure patient safety," said Ralph I. Horwitz, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine. "The Mt. Sinai Center for Medical Simulation will be unique in the learning experiences it will provide and will enable students and licensed practitioners in the health professions to achieve clinical mastery. In addition, this center demonstrates unparalleled collaboration and commitment among the university's schools of medicine, nursing, dental medicine and social sciences, along with the major teaching hospitals in Cleveland."

Reducing medical errors, curbing health care costs and improving caregiver-patient communication spurred the development of the center by a local consortium comprised of Case Western Reserve University's Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Social Science and Engineering; University Hospitals of Cleveland; MetroHealth Medical Center; the Cleveland Clinic Foundation; the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans' Affairs Medical Center; and local businesses.

"We believe the center will have a profound effect on health care and will become a model for others in the nation," added Horwitz. "Furthermore, the educational and research possibilities afforded by this center, as well as the potential for the development of national and international business relationships, are tremendous. We are truly grateful to the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation for their gift to make these plans a reality."

Fred Rothstein, CEO and president of University Hospitals of Cleveland, stated, "When UHC and Case forged its 50-year partnership agreement, we recommitted ourselves to our educational missions and pledged together to create the most advanced medical teaching models for the next generation of physicians. This gift from Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation brings us another step closer to becoming a national model among academic medical centers for the training of new physicians.

The Case School of Medicine will oversee operations of the new center. The new center will not only train students at Case but the more than 1,750 medical residents and fellows in training programs as well as hone the skills of health care professionals, first responders and emergency medical professionals across Northeast Ohio through continuing medical education.

"This new center will become a powerful and unparalleled new force in medical education for Case and the Greater Cleveland community," said President Edward M. Hundert, M.D. "The Mt. Sinai Center for Medical Simulation will become a hub for the generation of new interdisciplinary simulation curricula and technologies, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality and safety of medical care." In addition to health care training, the center will focus on designing and testing new simulation technologies with the assistance of students and faculty at the engineering school as well as research and development experts at BioEnterprise, Early-Stage Partners and Symbionix, among others.

The new simulated action learning will complement traditional training with actual patients and will enable students and health professionals to learn in ways that eliminate risks to patients. Education tools will range from low-fidelity simulators to complex human patient simulators and training with virtual surgical tools.

"There is no question that this facility will have a direct result on improving patient care in Cleveland," said Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation President Mitchell Balk. "This is a most appropriate way to perpetuate the Mt. Sinai legacy as a first-tier community teaching hospital."

Practicing medical procedures on human-like simulators will create virtual reality experiences for students that diverge from the traditional and anecdotal educational model in medicine of "see one, do one, teach one," noted Dr. Jeffrey Ponsky, a surgeon and director of graduate medical education at the Cleveland Clinic, and one of the Center's key supporters.

Case will partner as a "sister center" with the Israeli National Center for Medical Simulation in Tel Aviv, the international benchmark for centers engaged in simulation-based medical education. Dr. Amitai Ziv, director of the Israeli center will serve as an adjunct faculty member at the Case medical school and consultant on the development of the center and its programs.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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