Indiana University Health introduces new high tech mannequins for simulations

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Educators at IU Health say new tech is a critical component in the future of health care.

They say nurses, doctors and those in training gain confidence by experience. Now those experiences can play out before a single step is taken in a hospital or clinic.

At The Simulation Center in Fairbanks Hall, learners see medical scenarios play out in real time, within a controlled environment.

Through computer controlled mannequins, each student and practitioner can learn to diagnose and treat patients with the freedom to make mistakes.

While each is meant to seem like a real patient, educators say none is as lifelike as the 6 new additions to the center.

The latest patients to check in are high tech infants, controlled by WiFi. Educators say they're as real as it gets.

Every cry, cough and kick is meant to signal to learners a different need.

"It is the opportunity for us to allow every single person that is graduating from our program to be able to say, 'I have cared for someone at least in simulation with this particular diagnosis,' and be able to know how to treat that," says Simulation Center manager Julie Poore.

Poore is a registered nurse. She says when she was training the students practiced on each other. She marvels at how far technology has come.

"It gives them the opportunity to do those things hands-on [...] we can put IV's in these babies, we can draw blood on these babies. They have heart sounds, they have breath sounds."

Here, they can see how to diagnose and treat meningitis, tumors and heart conditions. They can diagnose issues the may never see in a clinical rotation.

"It is effective. It is high quality," says director Dylan Cooper. "We can guarantee the experience they will have when they come here."

They have technology for different ages and needs. They have a mannequin preparing for surgery, and a mannequin down the hall preparing to give birth.

Poore says it's only a matter of time before they act like patients as well.

"We said we don’t have a mannequin that walks yet because one day we can see that one of these will be able to get out of bed."

Cooper says their goal is to continue to match technology with their needs.

In the future they may look to gaming technology and virtual reality. For now, they say seeing and hearing ahead of time can equip nurses and practitioners with the skills they need.

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