BIDMC's Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center receives American College of Surgeons accreditation

Boston -- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center has been formally accredited as a Level 1 facility by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), the first in Boston and New England – and one of only six inaugural certified centers in the United States – to provide simulation-based skills training to health care students and professionals from all medical and surgical disciplines.

As an accredited education institute, the SASC will become part of the ACS' developing network of regional education facilities designed to "specifically address the teaching, learning and assessment of technical skills using state-of-the-art educational methods and cutting-edge technology." By 2008, all surgical residencies will be required to have training in a skills lab.

"The SASC is a prime example of how our leadership position in education improves the capabilities of our physicians to deliver high quality, compassionate, safe care for our patients, and enables BIDMC to create new knowledge regarding the best methods for training the doctors of tomorrow," says Richard Schwartzstein, MD, vice president of education.

Located on the ground floor of the Shapiro Clinical Center, and supported by a generous gift from Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro, the SASC is one of the most comprehensive facilities of its type in the country.

A focal point of the technologically advanced SASC is a mock operating room, equipped to re-create the environment of a real OR with the addition of sophisticated audiovisual equipment and polarized viewing windows. Nearby, a similar room replicates multiple clinical areas, such as an emergency room, intensive care unit or a medical/surgery floor.

Physicians, nurses, students and other members of the healthcare team practice on interactive mannequins that change blood pressure, pulse, and other physiological measures on cue, and diagnose and treat "virtual patients" that appear via video. Instructors' observations and information collected through advanced sensors and computer equipment enable faculty members to provide detailed feedback on students' performances.

Up to 65 learners can be accommodated in a large teleconference room with the capacity to receive live media feeds connected to four different operating room endosuites. It also uses computers for specialized educational and instructional content that includes tutorials for basic suturing, the Virtual Patient Program, and access to a comprehensive video library.

SASC co-directors David M. Feinstein, MD and Daniel B. Jones, MD, FACS, bring years of expertise to the center. Feinstein ranks among the leading faculty at the Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge while Jones is a leading advocate of simulation within the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and, in 2003, led the efforts by the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Department of Surgery to create the Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills Laboratory at the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research.

"We want to impress on the BIDMC community that these resources, as well as our support with curricula and research, are available to learners of all levels and all departments," says Feinstein. He notes that since the ultimate goal of simulation training is to provide greater patient safety, "students and healthcare professionals can all benefit from practicing scenarios in simulation."

"In 2006 the surgical adage is no longer acceptable to 'see one, do one, teach one'," Jones says. "Today the expectation is practice, practice, practice and demonstrate proficiency, and BIDMC is leading this paradigm change in training and maintenance of skills."

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This latest accreditation follows the Center's recent certification as one of 11 national test sites for Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) candidates. SASC faculty proctor the two-part cognitive and manual skills exam for residents, fellows and surgeons performing laparoscopic surgery.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information on the SASC, please visit www.bidmc.harvard.edu/sasc


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