Inova Fairfax Hospital officially opened a new simulated training center on its medical campus this summer, becoming the first center of its kind in Northern Virginia.

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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA9) -- After the Institute of Medicine called for improvements in patient care, Inova Fairfax Hospital has now begun to change the way their surgical teams are educated. To help with the training, the hospital officially opened a new simulated training center on its medical campus this summer, becoming the first center of its kind in Northern Virginia.

Surgery simulations, functioning operating rooms and realistic dummies are just a few ways medical students gain the skills they need at Inova's Advanced Surgical Technology and Education Center, also known as ASTEC. The 6,900 square foot facility features tools that help students practice precision, spacial skills and working together as a unit.

Dr. John Moynihan, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, said ASTEC's focus on unifying all members of an operating team is what sets it apart from other training centers. "Historically, we train surgeons learning separately from anesthesiologists, who learn separately from our nursing colleagues," Dr. Moynihan said. "What we want to do is bring everybody together, so that it's a one-team approach to safe patient care."

Dr. Moynihan said this way of training better prepares an operating team for worst case scenarios. Fires, patient hypothermia, and excessive bleeding are only some examples of disasters that can occur at any time in the OR. To prevent mistakes, all practice procedures are recorded, reviewed in a classroom setting and reattempted. "We need to be able to ensure that that patient, when those crises occur, is taken care of by a team that has gone through that experience in a simulated setting so that there are no errors," Dr. Moynihan said.

While medical students and residents at Inova have been using ASTEC since mid June, ASTEC is open to all healthcare facilities and schools dedicated to high quality surgical care.

Written By

Alana Yzola (WUSA9)

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