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Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013

etooling. Every professional needs to retool from time to time to become adept at advancements in his or her fi eld. Pilots in simulators practice the latest methods for handling hazardous conditions, and astronauts train underwater to R refi ne their ability to work in microgravity. Even baseball players and golfers employ virtual reality systems to upgrade the swings they’ve been using for years. But what about medical practitioners — surgeons, nurses, internists and anesthesiologists — who have years, maybe even decades, of experience in the operating room under their belts? For them, retooling hasn’t always been easy. “We have great medical schools and nursing schools for our future caregivers and great teaching hospitals for when they become residents and trainees, but traditionally, the education infrastructure stopped there — in other words, once you were launched, you were on your own to stay current,” says Dr. Barbara L. Bass, chair of The Methodist Hospital’s Department of Surgery. “What was needed was a comprehensive center in which practicing physicians and other surgical personnel could learn new procedures, get hands-on training, and become certifi ably skilled without putting a single patient at risk.” The dream became reality in 2007 when The Methodist Hospital established the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education, otherwise known as MITIE. Housed in a 35,000-square-foot education and research facility since 2011, MITIE includes three core components: a virtual hospital for team training in a simulated, high-risk patient environment; a procedural skills laboratory for individual training on state-of-theart models with 15 “mini” operating rooms; and a suite of six operating rooms for image-guided procedure research, robotic surgery and technology development. To best understand how MITIE works, Bass — who serves as the institute’s executive director — offers one example of how the resources of all three components make it possible for professionals to acquire a new skill and then master it. “Laparoscopic colectomy is a minimally invasive procedure where part of the colon is removed using a video camera and surgical equipment inserted through small tubes rather than a traditional operation that requires opening up the patient,” Bass says. “It’s a great technique — less painful for the patient, quicker recovery time and a shorter hospital stay — but many surgeons aren’t comfortable with it. MITIE makes it possible for them to observe, learn, try, make mistakes, practice and fi nally, gain confi dence with the procedure without endangering a single human being.” 51


Leading Medicine Magazine, Vol 7, No 1 - 2013
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