The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Food & Health

March 26, 2014

L.A. doctors practice speeding up trauma care

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Before the car-wreck victim reached the emergency room, doctors, residents and nurses at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center knew what to expect by glancing at their smartphones.

The details came in the staccato of text messages: A 35-year-old man had driven head-on into a bus. He suffered major chest injuries. His vital signs were crashing.

This was not just another day in the hospital. It was a laboratory billed as the “OR of the future,” an ongoing experiment aimed at breaking down barriers that bog down care through open communication, better use of technology and teamwork.

In reality, trauma care is rarely this organized. But those who are prized for individual skills are increasingly learning that when it comes to treating trauma patients from accidents, natural disasters or terrorist bombings, communication and coordination can determine whether someone lives or dies.

At an office building less than a mile from the main Cedars-Sinai campus, doctors are guinea pigs in simulations designed to test such skills.

There’s a “mission control” room filled with video screens where trainers keep track of the action. The walls are see-through. Open workspaces are favored over cubicles.

At the heart of the lab is a room that could be outfitted as the ER, operating room or intensive care unit — depending on the practice of the day. Medical simulation labs have evolved over the years, from simple lifelike models of body parts that doctors train on to full-blown replications of hospital rooms where trainees can practice different situations. The Cedars-Sinai space strives to speed up trauma care by eliminating workflow disruptions and honing communication skills.

“Health care today is delivered more by teams rather than by individuals. We have to educate folks in teamwork skills,” said William McGaghie, who heads a professional training institute at Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division.

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