Newsroom

New sim center paves way for improved patient safety - GHS opens Health Sciences Education Building
Friday, July 20, 2012

GREENVILLE, S.C. – Home to one of the nation’s most advanced patient simulations labs, the new Health Sciences Education Building at Greenville Hospital System is expected to serve as a nexus of advanced healthcare education for the Upstate.

Hundreds were expected to attend Friday’s dedication of the three-story, 91,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Greenville Memorial Hospital. The state-of-the-art building will house the new University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville as well as the Greenville HealthCare Simulation Center. It will also be home to the Greenville campus of the S.C. College of Pharmacy and a USC certified registered nurse anesthetist program. Faculty, citing the innovative curriculums and high-tech infrastructure that will allow unparalleled linkage between classroom and labs, see the building as a test bed for the critical concept of an inter-professional healthcare team.

“The work we will be doing in the Health Sciences Education Building will absolutely help transform health care in the region, if not the nation,” said Dr. Jerry Youkey, Dean of the USC School of Medicine Greenville. “To bring any of these academic disciplines to the Upstate would be significant – but to have the synergistic force of multiple disciplines and the simulation center will be extraordinary.”

As teaching programs increasingly integrate different disciplines in the classroom, simulation training becomes the next logical step for translating concept to practice.

At the Greenville Healthcare Simulation Center, students will use advanced human simulators and sophisticated software to secure hands-on patient care experience prior to caring for human patients. The center’s new home features an 11,500-square-foot suite of simulation labs upfitted with the latest technology and equipment. The specialized rooms include a simulated intensive care unit, labor and delivery suite and an operating room. An adjacent 8,200-square-foot clinical skills lab will provide an efficiency of learning rarely found in other large simulation centers in the U.S., said Dr. Rob Morgan, an anesthesiologist and the center’s medical director.

Last year alone, the Greenville center provided training for more than 5,000 students, ranging from allied-health students to first responders and established physicians and nurses. The Greenville center had been housed in temporary space for the past five years, and the technological enhancements at the new location are expected to significantly increase the demand.
“Our ability to replicate comprehensive patient interactions, facilitate multidisciplinary training and offer experiences that blend simulation-based techniques with standardized patients is unlike anything else in the country,” he said. “While medical simulation has been around for decades, we’re just beginning to reach the stage at which we can fully incorporate simulation-based educational activities into nearly every healthcare training program.”

“The era of ‘see one, do one, teach one’ has been replaced by training in a controlled environment using advanced equipment,” said Morgan. “Simulation is transforming how we teach and what we can teach before our participants ever encounter an actual patient in the hospital.”

The Greenville center is part of a network of simulation centers made possible by the S.C. General Assembly and the SmartState Centers of Economic Excellence Program, which partnered with Health Sciences South Carolina to invest $5 million to help create the SmartState Center for Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety. The Duke Endowment also provided $1 million grant to purchase simulators and simulation equipment, while Greenville Technical College is a critical partner through its Simulation Technologies and Training Center.

The architect and visionary behind the simulation network is Dr. John Schaefer, an internationally recognized expert in patient simulation education, curriculum design and research recruited to the Medical University of South Carolina as the Lewis Blackman Endowed Chair for Patient Simulation and Research, a SmartState Program endowed chair.

The Blackman chair is named for a 15-year-old Columbia teenager who died in November 2000 after undergoing elective surgery.

“At the end of the day, this network of centers provides the opportunity through research and training to improve the care and safety of our patients in South Carolina,” said Schaefer. “With time, the Greenville center could become one of the top patient simulation centers in the country.”

The Health Sciences Education Building cost approximately $60 million to build and upfit.

Companies that played key roles in the design or construction include Co Architects; McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture; Rodgers Construction; Design Strategies and Harper Construction.