Carolinas HealthCare System

New Simulation Lab is First of its Kind for Ambulatory Care

Orientation At-a-Glance:

Day 1: Focus is on key drivers of the changes in healthcare, Managing for Daily Improvement and LEAN concepts.

Day 2: Safety and quality training, reviewing quality metrics, chronic disease management and infection prevention are reviewed. In the afternoon the clerical teammates return to their practices and the clinical staff begins skill optimization.
Day 3: Teammates begin the process of skills optimization and validation within the simulation labs. “We give them scenarios. We are watching to make sure they follow the right steps in preparing medicines. Are they pulling it correctly? Are they paying attention to the temperature in the refrigerator?” Handy said.

Day 4: The facilitator runs a trial simulation based on the current standard work within the new care model to give teammates the opportunity to “practice” in simulation prior to the actual implementation of the care model within their physician office.

If you walked into the Skills Optimization Simulation Lab at Steele Creek, you might think you have landed in a fully operational physician practice. The new space is actually a learning facility that provides a controlled environment which imitates a real-life patient setting for Carolinas HealthCare System Medical Group (CHSMG) teammates. Trainees follow a curriculum that ensures they are practicing at the top of their license.

The simulation lab is the System’s first of its kind for ambulatory care.

2014 UNC SOM students
Facilitator Vivienne Gebrael, BSN, RN, MSL, reviews with clinician Michelle Whitley on how to find the correct spot to administer a shot to the buttocks.

“In order to respond to the future changes in healthcare delivery, we began exploring ways to better prepare and support our teammates working in ambulatory care,” said Elizabeth Handy, BSN, MBA, CMPE, assistant vice president of Quality Improvement and Care Redesign within CHSMG. “Ten years ago, a patient stayed in the hospital much longer. Now they are sent home sooner, many of who are cared for by clinicians’ in a physician’s practice.”

Guided by the physician-led Care Model Advisory Committee, a multi-disciplinary team planned the new orientation and skill optimization process.

“The brainstorming session ended in a four-day modified training within industry approach using a simulation lab,” Handy said.

To support our System’s new patient care delivery model, teams from each physician practice team are required to complete a four-day orientation and skill validation series at the center. “Our System’s new patient care model is designed to improve quality outcomes, reduce readmissions and emergency department utilization, improve access, decrease wait times and decrease medication and lab errors,” Handy said.

Lincoln Family Practice in Lincolnton sent one of the first teams to go through the simulation. Physician Daniel S. Senft, DO was an early supporter of the program and is medical director over Family Medicine for CHSMG.

“I’m a firm believer in optimizing skills and standardizing the way we deliver care,” Dr. Senft said. “Following the training, our staff came back energized and full of confidence. I think this training has raised our level of service and the quality of care we deliver.”