Showcasing Your Healthcare Simulation Center Can Be As Easy as Pi

09/09/2016

Blog post by SimGHOSTS President Scott Crawford

Showcasing Your Healthcare Simulation Center Can Be As Easy as Pi

The simulation center is often the showpiece of a campus. We have more high-tech gadgets than any classroom, and even those not involved in a medical specialty will walk through the halls and rooms of a simulation center with their mouths open in astonishment. It is no accident that schools, hospitals and training sites are proud of their simulation education teams. You work hard, provide high-quality education and strive to improve humanistic qualities of care providers as well as teach technical and practical delivery of medical care. Are you and your campus doing everything you can to highlight and advertise your expertise and abilities to learners, other departments and your community? You don’t need to have a 175-foot Dallas Cowboys Jumbotron (currently the largest video screen in the world), or a 16-screen integrated video wall to demonstrate your center’s capabilities, although this feature is impressive at the Jump Trading Center in Peoria, Illinois. A few high-quality photos of the center, training activities and some statistics can serve as an impressive virtual tour. This tour can highlight the activities and technical features of your center and can speak volumes for your work and the impact your center has on healthcare education. This can be impressive and effective displayed on a standard wall-mounted HDTV.

One of the most innovative and underpublicized pieces of technology in the past half-decade, in my opinion, is the Raspberry Pi. This device is a Linux-based microcomputer that has great features and versatility in any environment, especially within the simulation center. The entire computer is the size of a deck of playing cards, is powered from a standard micro-usb charger, and is capable of outputting 1080p video signals at a cost of $35. While not a super-computing powerhouse, the features are ideal for the niche purpose of running an entryway video screen, including video clips and photos. The Linux software package, free for basic use, called “Screenly” allows easy creation and display of exactly this type of content using the hardware on the Raspberry Pi. This type of “digital signage” system could cost thousands of dollars in hardware and software, but for a tech savvy individual, it could be incorporated for a fraction of that cost. This same type of digital signage can be used to provide a guide to learners about classes scheduled for the day and a live directory of rooms and activities.

We have used this screen for mass casualty scenarios with a Google sheets screen to serve as an Emergency Department tracking board in the main “triage” entryway. This same system could be used for learner registration and log-in with a barcode, RF or magnetic strip reader. I am excited to discover other uses and tips from the SimGHOSTS community for this product.