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Simulation Technology Arrives for Phlebotomists

Beginners & Experts Can Sharpen Their Skills
 
Just when you think you've seen everything, there's a new simulation program just for honing your phlebotomy skills. This cool gadget carries a price tag that reflects the cool technology, currently $13,995.00 (www.immersionmedical.com).
 
 Immersion Medical, Inc., of Gaithersburg, Maryland, has introduced a Phlebotomy module for its CathSim vascular simulator. It's a realistic, computer-based simulator for helping users develop, maintain, and assess the motor skills and cognitive knowledge needed to perform intravenous access procedures. The various levels cover the gamut from novice to expert. Virtual patients respond with bleeding, bruising, vein collapse, vein rolling, vein compromise, and other physiological reactions. Users select from more than a dozen pieces of virtual equipment to perform medical procedures with over 29 unique patient models.
 
The module has safety needles and an updated collection tube draw order. This environment includes patented force feedback technology that simulates the feel of vascular access procedures, including the "pop" of venipuncture.  The force feedback is closely integrated with the visual and audio responses of virtual patients. The user encounters abnormal, difficult, and uncommon cases.
 
Virtual Phlebotomy conforms to CLSI and OSHA standards and guidelines. CLSI standards are designed to minimize phlebotomy mistakes and patient injuries, which can include contaminated samples that have to be redrawn, false positives due to contamination, fractures, nerve damage, and incorrect medications or doses, which can have life-threatening consequences.
 
Practice Makes Perfect, on Pretend Patients
 
"The CathSim system is important in teaching the proper procedure and perfecting the practice of venipuncture," says Professor Jesse Guiles of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, who teaches semester-long classes in Phlebotomy.  "The CathSim system reinforces the use of appropriate procedural techniques."
 
The Phlebotomy module has patient-based scenarios that provide progressively difficult anatomy. The simulated patients present various problems and also audibly respond to pain.  In addition, virtual aides, such as real-time views that show underlying anatomy and needle angle, enhance the learning process, while evaluation metrics help in the objective assessment of users.
 
"It brings the cases to life," says Guiles.  "Some of the patient types in the scenarios have rolling or small veins, and students can perforate the vein or cause bruising if they're not careful.  Some of our students actually get scared that they're going to hurt the patient."
 
Today, eleven states and Puerto Rico mandate phlebotomy certification that requires a CLSI standards-based course, including 100 hours of clinical practice and 100 successful blood collections. The CathSim system can supplement certification programs by offering an objective evaluation tool.
 
A game-like virtual blood draw is more fun than the real thing, and because it's not a real arm and real blood, there's no real damage to be done. Poke, jab, and stab away!

By Rita Henry
Get Phlebotomy Jobs, Contributing Editor

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