EMS Simulation Training: It’s time for a leap forward.

What do augmented reality medical simulation training and the horseless carriage have in common?   

Answer: Both are beholden to the diffusion of innovation. 


History is filled with examples of technologies that take decades to become widely adopted. The transition from horse pulled carriages to the automobile was fraught with controversy, fear of change and countless innovations. Some early adopters of the horseless carriage had their lives threatened and the first motor vehicles were described as ‘demonic’ and ‘monstrous’ machines by many.  Ultimately, at the turn of the twentieth century, phasing out horse driven transportation prevented the loss of over 20,000 lives related to illnesses from animal dung just in New York City. From the modern perspective, it’s hard to imagine what all the fuss was about, but such is the march of progress.  Adoption of innovation just takes time and relies on countless variables that converge in creating powerful advances. 

In a parallel example, the time for harvesting the benefits of augmented reality (AR) has arrived after decades of development in research labs.  The confluence of affordable hardware and powerful software has made the possibilities as limitless as the human imagination.  The application uses are poised to dramatically advance training at the frontline of emergency medical services and beyond.  But are you ready?  

The advantages of medical simulation training are well documented including standardized learning environments that aide in the development of teamwork skills and critical thinking in “safe spaces”.  The old ethic of “see one, do one, teach one” just does not seem so ethical anymore.  On the job learning is still required, but risking patient safety to acquire the fundamentals is not acceptable.   

Huge investments have been made into building medical simulation facilities (sim labs) at most institutions of graduate education because perceived benefits outweigh the costs.  Those training others to save lives need great learning tools to prepare learners for real world encounters. The challenges thus far have been multifactorial.  Three of the most commonly cited challenges have been to implementing a program in simulation training are affordability, portability and realism.  Most existing sim labs cost millions of dollars to build and the state of the art mannequins just lack the realism required to trigger suspension of disbelief in learners. MedCognition was started by clinician educators and computer scientists who set out to overcome the obstacles of affordability, portability and realism in medical simulation training.  Our mission is to make high definition medical simulation accessible to all in health care.  No longer relegated only to fixed sim labs with high costs of overhead and logistic complexities high definition medical simulation can be finally brought to every classroom and even to the front lines on community practice. 

Imagine performing simulation training of a paramedic student in the back of an actual rig with a technology that transforms a low fidelity mannequin torso into a high-fidelity simulation experience. Imagine having access to such a technology at a fraction of the cost of current high-fidelity mannequins. How invaluable would such a tool be in training those who will go onto save lives?  It’s time for a leap forward. Click here.