equipment we use - vol 3 - control and debrief rooms setup and tech

For my third installment of 'equipment we use' I thought I would review how we setup our control, simulation and debrief rooms tech.

By no means do I say these setups or product seen here are the best or that they are the right solution for you - they are just things that have worked for us, and might assist in your search to find solutions for yourself.
Please note that I have no affiliation and no financial gain with any company.

Lets start with our Control Room. As you can see below we have (left to right):
1. Dedicated telephone line. When simulation participants want to call for assistance (from a phone we have in the sim room) they call this line and an educator can answer and reply appropriately.
2. All-in-one vital sign computer. We keep this in the control room and just splice the feed to the simulation room. We like not having this mounted in the sim room as this way gives the technician more control, and the ability to quickly unplug it and take it to insitu simulations.
3. AV Recording laptop. This lets us control the starting and stopping of recording a simulation so it can be used for debriefing / reviewed at a later date.
4. Desktop speakers. These let us hear what is happening in the simulation room, and the volume control is within arms length of the technician.
5. Patient Simulator laptop. This controls the simulator. Also easy for us to unplug to take to an insitu simulation when required.
6. Desk light. We have a dimmer switch on the rooms light switch, but if the tech needs some more light this can be used.
7. Camera joystick. This enables us to move any of the 3 ceiling mounted cameras easily and quickly if a view is obstructed. I highly suggest joysticks over touchscreen camera controls.
8. Overhead TV's (x3). These give us a view of what each camera is live streaming/recording, and can be watched if the two-way mirror gets obstructed.
9. Overhead / implanted actors microphone. We can switch the mic to be used for the simulation rooms overhead speakers, or to talk privately with actors (confederates) in-ear headphones.
10. Patient Simulators voice microphone. We run this mic separately from the overhead / implanted actors mic, as since its totally wireless, we can easily take it to insitu simulations.
11. A/V laptop. We use this to load images (ECG's / Xrays / etc.) that the educator supplies to show participants in the sim room.

We have seating for the technician and two educators in front of the two-way mirror.
We opted for cushion covered file cabinets for storage / extra seating along the back wall. These are used by extra educators, or small groups of participants instead of watching a live-stream in the debrief room. They can sit and watch the three ceiling mounted TVs.
We probably would have designed the room to be located behind the head-wall, but this room was built long ago and the gases/suction head-wall was placed on the outside wall - limiting our option to a side view.

In the Simulation Room (below), we have:
1. Overhead cameras (x3) and microphones (x2). These are for our live-streaming/debriefing system and the three TVs in the control room (split feed).
2. Dedicated telephone line. Used for participants to call for assistance (they call into the control room).
3. Vital signs TV (x2). We have the option to display either on the TV above the gas/suction wall (most users) or to change it to the monitor on top of the Anesthesia machine. Anything to keep anesthesia happy ; )
4. A/V TV. We use this to show images (ECG's / Xrays / etc.) that the participants might need/ask for.

Lastly, our sweet and simple Debrief Room (below). 
Just a big conference table to seat 14, a laptop and TV for presentations, live-streaming and/or debriefing.

If you've liked this edition of equipment we use, please feel free to check out my first two:

Vol 1 - communication with confederates / patient simulator voice

Vol 2 - online booking calendar


equipment we use - vol 2 - online booking calendar

For vol 2 of 'equipment we use' I thought I would post what we have developed to handle a few problems we encountered over scheduling, booking, evaluation and statistics.

Our current simulation program has three locations - two simulation centres and a skills centre. Each of the three locations used to have paper calendars, no online presence, and users would have to call or email each respective location requesting a date and time.
Often requesting dates that are already booked, you can imagine the excessive correspondence back and forth. This process was inefficient and led to a poor user experience.

We decided to hire a developer to build our simulation program a website including an integrated online booking solution.

We started with an overview calendar (img1) on our websites front page. This gave users an opportunity to have a quick glance at location schedules (less detailed).

Overview Calendar (img1)

We color coded our locations to help differentiate them from one another.
Once users identified the location they want to book, they click on that locations button, bringing them to the site specific calendar (img2).

Site Specific Calendar (img2)

On the site specific calendar you get a more detailed view of the daily schedule. Once you identify an available date and time you start the booking process by clicking the 'Book Now' text on the upper left corner of the date you want. That launches our request form (img3).

Request Form (img3)

The request form is too long to show here, but we capture all the information we need to run the course, invoice (if applicable) and collect statistics.
Once the form is completed and submitted by the requester, three things happen:
1. the requester gets a confirmation email that their request has been made
2. the sim staff get an email notifying them that someone has submitted a request
3. The time requested goes into 'pending mode' on the online calendar - so other users see that a request for that time has already been submitted. We follow a 'first-come-first-serve' policy.

The next step is for the sim staff to login to the back-end booking request list (img4) and review the request. Any requests that are 'pending' will be highlighted in red.

Back-end - Booking Requests List (img4)

Once they open the booking request (img5), they can edit the form if needed and most importantly - they can add the setup and cleanup time.

Booking request (img5)

Setup and Cleanup times (img6) show users that the location is busy from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, even though the course is from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Setup and Cleanup times (img6)

Once everything is reviewed, staff will approve the request. The approval automatically sends a confirmation email to the requester and the calendar goes from pending to booked.

We also have a 'reminder' emails automatically sent... 31 days and 8 days prior to their booking.

The final automated process is an online evaluation form (img7) that is emailed to the user a few hours after their session end time. This is an opportunity to receive feedback on our strengths and weaknesses, assisting us with continued development of the program staff, facilities, equipment and processes. 

Online Evaluation Form (img7)

This new system also collects all the information submitted into a database, which we can manipulate for various statistics - from number of learners, hours booked, cadaver use, department statistics, etc... 


Hopefully you found some interest and use in this edition of 'equipment we use'.
It is a tool that we are continuing to develop based on need and user feedback, but overall it has been extremely successful.

Please feel free to leave a comment below on your thoughts or your own solutions.
Thanks for reading.

FYI, you can check out equipment we use - vol 1 - communication with confederates / patient simulator voice here.


equipment we use - vol 1 - communication with confederates / patient simulator voice

Whenever I visit a new sim centre the first thing I do is look at the equipment they use. I love seeing what techs have purchased or solutions they have come up with to make their centres run more efficiently. In the spirit of sharing, I thought I would post what I have found has worked for some centres I've worked in.

I have no affiliation with any company and receive no financial gains from any of them.
By no means do I say these products are the best or that they are the right solution for you - they are just things that have worked for me, and might assist in your search to find solutions for yourself.

Today I'm going to share what we use as an audio solution for:
i. instructors (control room) privately talking to confederates (sim room)
ii. the voice of the patient simulator

I needed a transmitter (send the audio) and receivers (receive the audio).
I wanted:
- A wireless system. This makes it 'cleaner' and portable for in situ sessions.
- The ability for one transmitter to connect to various receivers (I have seen some cool smaller systems, but they were one transmitter to one receiver, and that won't work because we often have multiple confederates).

I also wanted to get a wireless speaker system to use as the patients voice. I don't really like the quality of the system most high fidelity patient simulators come with, I want it to be portable so we can set up anywhere, and I like the idea of having a wireless mic that can be easily handed around for different people to be the voice.

After doing some research I decided that the products below, made by Anchor Audio and Williams Sound, were the best solution for me - covering all my needs and best cost/quality ratio.


Below are the transmitters. The transmitters can send audio to the wireless patient voice receiver speaker or wireless confederates in-ear receiver - depending on channel they are set to (16 to choose from). We purchased one of each. Most of our users opt for the collar mic to talk to confederates and the handheld mic to be the patients voice - but the choice is up to them.

Anchor Audio WB-8000 transmitter with Anchor Audio CM60 collar mic

Anchor Audio WH-8000 transmitter handheld mic


Below are the receivers. We use the bodypack with earbud for the confederates (we bought four units) and the wireless speaker for the patients voice (by just placing it under the bed).

Anchor Audio ALB-8000 receiver with Williams Sound EAR 013 single mono earbud

Anchor AN-Mini speaker with wireless option. We also purchased the rechargeable battery pack for this, for times when plugging it in was not an option.

This simple setup works well for us, and the quality is great.

If you have any questions/comments or want to share what has worked well for you, please feel free to add a comment below or send me an email.