November 3, 2022

Simulation ambulance helps train local EMS, prevents disruptions in emergency response

A UW Health training ambulance

Madison, Wis. – A new training tool at UW Health gives area emergency medical services personnel the chance to learn tough-to-teach skills in a way that doesn’t impact patient care.

In 2022, UW Health brought online an ambulance that has all the capabilities of an active ambulance in the field, but is used to educate medical first responders, called EMS, on rare or difficult-to-train-for cases when they are at their stations.

Medical training professionals from the UW Health Clinical Simulation Program, located at University Hospital, travel with the ambulance to EMS agencies of the UW Advanced Life Support Consortium, a group of EMS providers in Dane County that contract with UW Health for medical direction and training, according to Dr. Sushant Srinivasan, medical director, UW Health Clinical Simulation Program, and associate professor of pediatrics, UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

“The ambulance gives us a chance to be there in the field helping train our EMS partners in Dane County so they can learn about those rare cases that they might not see often enough to know how to treat,” he said.

For more than 10 years, the collaboration has helped area EMS agencies with standardizing operating procedures, prehospital provider education, quality management, in addition to medical direction, including on-scene support with two physician response vehicles.

The ambulance also provides a setting that can’t be replicated in any other way, according to Patrick Anderson, chief, Fitchrona EMS.

“We’ve tried to build spaces in our fire station that replicate an ambulance, but without the real constraints of an ambulance setting, our professionals aren’t getting the true experience they need when working with hard-to-manage cases,” he said.

The ambulance also has a direct patient-care benefit, because in order to simulate a real-world scenario in the past, it meant taking an ambulance out of service for the training, and an emergency can’t wait for a training session to finish, Anderson said.

“This ambulance gives us the chance to train while eliminating any disruption to our emergency response capabilities; it’s an incredible resource,” he said.