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Photo: Gaumard Scientific

Despite medical and technological advancements, the United States has continued to face a maternal health crisis.   

In fact, the rate of maternal mortality has been increasing in the country since 2000. The problem is particularly dire for Black women, who are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.  

Still, providers can see those statistics and think “not in my house,” said Gaumard Scientific vice president Jim Archetto. In other words, clonidine tab he explained, there may be a reluctance to confront their own roles in the crisis. 

Gaumard, founded in the late 1940s, has spent the past few decades developing technology to address patient safety for birthing people, children, newborns and those who have experienced trauma, among others.   

It has done so by developing patient simulators, on which clinicians can practice intramuscular injections, glucose measurements, urinary catheterizations, and a variety of surgeries and procedures.  

“In the 1980s, with technology things changed dramatically,” said Archetto in an interview with Healthcare IT News. “It got to the point where we could make robots that delivered robot babies.”

One such robot is Victoria, which Gaumard touts as “the world’s most lifelike childbirth simulator.”

Victoria includes several programs to simulate situations that can occur during pregnancy, including an amniotic fluid embolism, placental abruption, preeclampsia and shoulder dystocia. The aim is to put providers in a “low-frequency, high-risk environment,” said Archetto.   

“You may only get a complicated birth once every two years or so” as an obstetrician, he said – but when it happens, it’s vital to be prepared.  

“We purposefully put you in a high-stress environment,” he said. “The key point is you can practice it over and over.”  

When it comes to performance indicators, Archetto pointed to a study published this August in Obstetrics and Gynecology that found malpractice claim rates were significantly lower for OB-GYNs following simulation-training sessions.   

“Wider use of simulation training within obstetrics and gynecology should be considered,” said researchers in that study.

Archetto said that the simulations can immerse a learner in the experience. “I’ve seen learners get very emotional, very worked up,” he said.

To support realism, Archetto said, Gaumard offers simulators in three different skin tones, ranging from light to medium brown, although the light-skinned model is the only one on display in photos throughout its website.  

He also notes that facilities in more rural areas will take Victoria, which is wireless with a ten-hour battery life, “on the road” to train providers who cannot themselves travel.   

“We try to work with [facilities] and show how we can impact disparity in care,” he said. 

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Archetto noted, interest in learning via simulation has ramped up – especially with regard to airway trainers and ventilators.  

“We can operate these simulators remotely,” he pointed out, further reducing the need for in-person interaction “If you had one of these simulators, I could create this scenario without any other action.

“COVID-19 accelerated the changes” when it came to using simulators, he added. “But changes were coming anyway.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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