Robert Sweet, M.D., has seen dramatic scientific advances as executive director of two related but separate health care simulation programs: WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) and the Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST). WISH uses simulation technology to train providers; CREST advances simulation research and development.
WISH and Sweet’s early work created one of the first video games to teach surgical skills. With 20 years of projects, the institute has an interdisciplinary team — from clinicians to special-effects artists — for simulation training. A recent $1.5 million endowment launched a fellowship program to develop international simulation training centers.
For 13 years, CREST has developed next-generation simulation that prepares military providers to treat battlefield injuries. It makes systems to train doctors in traditional open surgery and complex airway management. In 2014, CREST began a $9.8 million Department of Defense contract as the sole source creator for a system allowing components of a simulated body — neck, head, torso — to “talk” to each other. Its training mannequin will replicate a human’s response to disease, injuries and trauma. The platform unites virtual and physical models and training systems under one platform.
Simulation science increases patient safety and helps physicians learn evolving technology. It advances devices tested in simulation. Now mainstream, robotic surgery increases dexterity in small spaces, but future technology can do more.
“What’s exciting now,” Dr. Sweet says, “is that simulation science in health care is transitioning from sort of being fringe and ‘nice to have’ to being part of the true culture of health care.”
Medical device company LumiThera is at the forefront of laser and LED light treatment for ocular disorders and diseases, including dry age-related macular degeneration that’s a leading cause of blindness in adults over 65. LumiThera is developing the noninvasive LT-300 Light Delivery System, now authorized for European Union commercial use. Working with Seattle design firm Product Creation Studio, LumiThera is bringing the developmental-stage LT-300 toward U.S. market readiness.