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Biomed Simulation: Revolutionizing Perfusion Training with Simulation
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Richard Tallman, Founder and CEO, Biomed Simulation
There is no denying that the application of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in critical care has increased considerably ever since the advent of COVID-19.
Termed as a ‘lifesaving treatment,’ this extracorporeal heart and lung support technique is used as the last resort when patients fail to respond to other therapeutic procedures.
However, the successful management of ECMO emergencies continues to be a significant problem for the medical community due to the use of highly complex equipment and therapies in critical settings.
To ensure efficient management of ECMO emergencies, acquiring and maintaining technical, behavioral, and critical thinking skills is essential.
But this is where another challenge exists. With traditional training programs that usually encompass didactic educational lectures and hands-on water drills, trainees hardly get to experience the realistic sense of an ECMO emergency.
In such situations, incorporating simulation-based training serves as an ideal alternative, providing participants with practical and interactive training without risking patients’ lives and wellbeing.
Building on this concept of simulation-based training for critical care specialists, Richard Tallman, a renowned leader in perfusion and pulmonary science, founded Biomed Simulation (BMS) in 2011.
Since its inception, the company has always been driven by a mission to improve clinician performance through patient-free simulation. “At BMS, we specialize in helping our clients train perfusionists and critical care specialists in an environment that is indistinguishable from real life.
With our simulation platform, clients can consistently run specific scenarios related to ECMO emergencies and seamlessly document their workforce’s performance,” highlights Tallman, the founder and CEO of Biomed Simulation.
This helps improve the standard of care through training and increases the proficiency of perfusionists working in acute clinical care and OR environment while decreasing cost and liability risk for health services providers.
Embracing a Digital Mindset
BMS was the result of Tallman’s ardent passion for making a world of difference in the clinical training space. Having worked as a physiology and perfusion science preceptor, both pre-and post-digital revolution, he developed an interest in digital applications that can help augment clinical training processes.
As a responsible leader, Tallman redirected his focus and efforts to identify the best ways to digitize the clinical training space, which was lagging way behind in adopting advanced technologies.
And this is when the idea struck him—to develop a simulator system that can bridge the gaps prevailing in the clinical training landscape.
Leveraging his 28 years of experience in teaching perfusion science, conducting research in cardiopulmonary physiology, and consulting for different manufacturers, he designed a unique simulator solution that turned out to be a game-changer in the clinical training space.
This led to the inception of Biomed Simulation and a robust suite of Califia products designed to support simulation scenarios within the OR or ICU. Fast forward to 2021, Biomed Simulation has evolved into a global leader that brings a paradigm shift in the clinical training space, thanks to Tallman’s innovation-first approach and obsession with new technologies.
Establishing a New Standard for Training
Under the hood of BMS is its family of Califia products— Califia patient simulator, Califia Lung, and Beating Heart— that support simulation experiences involving ECMO/ ECLS and cardiopulmonary bypass. With the powerful combination of software and hardware, the Califia patient simulator is an ABCP-certified, realistic, high-fidelity bypass simulator system designed to simulate a patient before, during, and after cardiopulmonary bypass for open-heart surgery or ECMO therapy.
We even cover many of the functions involved with open heart surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass, and that creates a complete picture. This has never been done before
Designed as a physiologically responsive system, it can be attached to any heart-lung machine circuit or any ECMO machine circuit and reflexively respond to drug infusion, changing pump flow, and more.
Furthermore, the Califia patient simulator is fully programmable and allows clinicians to adjust patient parameters like blood and breathing circuit characteristics to fit the training needs.
“A unique facet of the device is that parameters can be pre-established and set automatically, and the progression through each step be paused and started at the instructor’s discretion,” informs Tallman.
On the other hand, Califia’s Lung simulator is designed to simulate a patient’s lungs.
It can breathe spontaneously on its own or be attached to a real ventilator, with the ability to change the compliance and resistance of the lungs.
Califia’s Lung can be either used as a standalone device to give interactive patient responses or used in conjunction with the Califia patient simulator to provide complete ECMO simulations.
In other words, using Califia’s Lung and patient simulator together, clinicians can start with ventilation, move onto ECMO, and follow through with the whole course of treatment, delivering the full spectrum of support for patients’ that require ECMO.
Califia’s Beating Heart is a novel beating heart component designed to pump balloons inside a plastic or an animal heart.
It can follow the traces up on the monitor, provide a physical realism to a bleeding heart, and simulate over 15 heart conditions.
“We even cover many of the functions involved with open heart surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass, and that creates a complete picture. This has never been done before,” avers Tallman.
Creating a Unique Niche
BMS’ success in the healthcare simulation industry is backed by its team’s vast clinical experience, expertise, and entrepreneurial spirit.
“Each member is dedicated and committed to ensuring that each of our products is instructionally effective and developed to the point of high fidelity and excellence.
We also work with developers for annual software updates,” remarks Tallman. In short, the company’s virtual representations of monitoring devices further encourage learning.
With additional capabilities that include creating and maintaining electronic patient records, text-to-speech conversion, and translation, BMS simulators allow for a precise and standardized training environment.
What gives BMS an edge over the competition is its business model built around their core value—innovation.
As a lean, agile startup, the innovation labs at BMS are constantly driving toward enhancing their existing solutions and building new products by keeping themselves open to client feedback and recommendations.
In fact, the pandemic-induced economic slowdowns created an ideal opportunity for them to fast-pace their innovation and product development endeavors. “During the pandemic, we were able to accelerate our efforts to develop our 3D user interface that allows practitioners to virtually move around the ICU, interact with patients, and use equipment, like heart-lung machines or ECMO machines in a 3D environment,” adds Tallman.
With only a handful of competitors, BMS has created a niche for itself in the medical simulation arena and is primed to take full advantage of technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality to revolutionize perfusion training.
In the quest to further expand their offerings’ potential, BMS is working on additional functionality to create ‘what-if’ scenarios that will help with critical decision-making.
The team hopes to leverage real patient data to create scenarios that can be replayed on the simulator, bringing real-life data into the simulation.
More recently, BMS attained an SBIR grant to develop the product.
“We want to work further on being able to take this data the other direction and create scenarios where we can repeat or stop and do ‘what-if’ war-game type simulation.
It is a challenging scenario, and we are looking forward to it,” concludes Tallman.