Talking mannequins

Icom’s IP Advanced Radio System is providing an innovative connectivity solution at Aintree Hospital’s Centre of Simulation and Patient Safety, as marketing director Ian Lockyer explains

Talking mannequins

Icom’s IP Advanced Radio System has been adopted by many organisations in diverse business sectors. None so far have been quite as unusual as the important Centre of Simulation and Patient Safety at Aintree Hospital in Liverpool.

The system, originally sourced to provide a voice for specialist medical training mannequins,
is also allowing two-way communications between each trainer and increased interaction with the medical students they are teaching.

The centre teaches a broad range of students across the North West of England from nursing and medical students all the way through to doctors, consultants and anaesthetists. The centre also trains other areas of the medical sector including pharmacists, paramedics, midwives, gynaecologists and even the military.

The equipment at the centre is very sophisticated and provides the capability to run two to three courses at the same time, dependent on staffing levels. There are two simulation suites, two control rooms, a debrief room and further access to other resources as well. The department also teaches and runs medical simulation training at other NHS trusts.

Realistic mannequins
The mannequins are also very sophisticated and cost from £30,000 to about £90,000. They have a realistic physiology and breathe, bleed and blink. Students can give them fluids and drugs. Limbs can both be amputated and reattached.

Tim Parr, a technical trainer at the Centre of Simulation and Patient Safety, says: ‘Patient safety is what we emphasise in our training. We teach groups to manage from a non-clinical point of view, covering communication, situational awareness, leadership, decision making and teamwork, to prepare them for what they have to do it in real life.’

He adds: ‘We originally needed a different solution as the training centre was expanding. We needed more radios to cover a bigger area. We looked at Bluetooth as a short-term solution to put a voice in the mannequins. However, as soon as we found out about the IP Radios from Icom we requested a demonstration to see if they could do the job.

‘As soon as the first demonstration units were available, NRC Ltd brought the manufacturer, Icom, up to Liverpool for a trial. We were very impressed with the solution as it allowed us to give our mannequins a voice and aid our day-to-day training. The digital audio was a great improvement as well.’

After significant tests, the centre purchased the system, which features two IP1000C IP Advanced Radio System controllers and 10 IP100H IP communication radio/handsets with headsets, to provide the full duplex comms.

In the loop
Parr says: ‘At any given time, we use five to six radio units. The entire department uses the radios to talk to each other; everyone is in the loop when someone is doing something. The brilliant thing is we can involve more people at the same time, which makes things more interesting and the performance is so much better in terms of connection and clarity.

‘The system is performing well and is doing what we want it to do. Importantly, we can hear each other clearly. An extra benefit is that we can go out with the radio system and take it to other hospitals and training centres when required. It has been a good investment and certainly suits our bespoke needs.’

This system was installed by Icom dealer, NRC Ltd, which was founded in 1989 and provides communications to business and other commercial organisations in the North West and across the UK.

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