Gunnison Valley Hospital

Simulations Help Hone Skills of Doctors, EMS

By Laura Anderson
June 7, 2012
Courtesy of The Gunnison Country Times

He cries. He bleeds. He can even turn into a she.
And he’s offering high-tech training opportunities for the medical communities in Hinsdale and Gunnison counties.
His name is iStan and he is a state-of-the-art medical simulator.
The simulator includes the iStan simulation mannequin and a mobile simulation lab that will allow Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from Gunnison Valley Health (GVH) to run training scenarios all over Gunnison and Hinsdale counties.
According to Bryan Hess, director of Emergency Medical Services for GVH, the mannequin helps with trainees’ “suspension of disbelief,” allowing them to imagine that iStan is a real patient.
“We’ve trained our students to talk to us, to talk to the instructor, not to the patient,” he said.
Members of Hinsdale County’s EMS team were offered a private viewing of iStan last week after dropping a patient at GVH, and they were impressed by the realism of the simulation.
“As far as EMS goes, this is amazing,” said Michelle Murphy of Hinsdale County EMS.
For areas like Gunnison and Hinsdale counties, where the call numbers are lower than metropolitan areas, iStan can be an invaluable training instrument.
“This is an amazing tool,” Murphy said. “Our calls are so much lower, this way we can see (medical conditions) we never see.”
The truck has a room set up to look like an ambulance, where the simulations can take place. This room is wired with cameras and recording equipment so simulations can be recorded. The next room is wired for observation and debriefing, where students can watch the simulation and critique their skills.
The third room in the simulator is a control room for iStan, where instructors get a live view of students in action, and can interact with trainees through iStan. From here, the instructor can control the direction the simulation takes, everything from what iStan says to how quickly his heart beats.
The total cost of iStan plus the mobile simulation lab is $190,000. The GVH Foundation has secured a $95,000 matching fund grant and is fundraising to procure the rest of the $95,000 price tag. The Gunnison Car Club has agreed to help by designating the iStan project one of its 2012 charities.
(Laura Anderson can be reached at 641.1414 or

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