CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati College of Nursing has formally opened a renovated Interprofessional Innovation Collaboratory, a cross-disciplinary space designed to engage UC students, high school students, corporate partners, professionals and global visitors in active learning through hands-on health care experiences with high-performing technology.
The collaboratory, which has been in use since March but officially opened today for the fall semester, combines the use of state-of-the-art telehealth equipment with human patient simulators in health care rooms that are designed to mirror a current patient care delivery setting. Remote-controlled human patient simulators are life-like in size and have the capability to mimic human physiology, talk and provide electronic feedback to students, faculty members and professionals about their care. An advanced video recording system that integrates with an Apple TV and iPad applications allows educators to capture the interactions between "patients” and the rest of the team.
"The remote operation of the human patient simulators allows students a greater opportunity to perform clinical integration and translation,” said Debi Sampsel, DNP, RN, and chief officer of innovation and entrepreneurship for the college. "We’re on the cutting-edge of academic settings that pair telehealth with simulation to develop the workforce of tomorrow.”
The collaboratory also houses two telehealth robots, which allow providers to care for patients remotely, from anywhere. The robots also will be used in the geriatric medicine rehabilitation unit and the independent apartments of the Maple Knoll Village retirement home in Springdale, Ohio.
"We can do a visual visit and be real-time present in the patient's room through the robot body, which can communicate and send images and information between the patient and provider,” Sampsel said, adding that the telehealth aspect is a unique offering of the collaboratory. "Other colleges of nursing have simulation rooms but we have not seen one designed to feature the integration of telehealth devices, smart devices and simulation-care delivery into one versatile space.”
The other distinct aspect of the collaboratory is the cross-disciplinary, interprofessional connections that the space fosters—and on which it thrives. Nursing students, faculty members and professionals have already used the collaboratory in clinical simulations, while UC engineering students have helped program and manage the technology as part of their capstone projects and career development. Recently, for example, undergraduate midwifery students performed a simulated birth with faculty members, while their fellow students viewed from an observation room.
"Nothing is possible without a great team effort of collaboration across interprofessional colleges and different disciplines,” Sampsel said. "There was so much input by my colleagues from across UC as we formed the collaboratory. It has created a rich end-user's learning environment.”
The collaboratory, which cost $400,000 and is housed in Procter Hall, was funded by college funds and the technology through the generosity of college donors. Also, leveraging the talent of the UC staff, faculty members and administrative personnel from various departments across the university helped contribute to the cost effectiveness of the project.
"We are committed to providing innovative, engaging and interprofessional learning experiences for our students. Spaces like this, along with the incorporated technology, allow us to provide an active learning experience and stay at the forefront of nursing and interprofessional education,” says Greer Glazer, PhD, RN, dean of the College of Nursing.