Since January 2016, MedStar SiTEL has used its Mobile Simulation Lab, a fully equipped, 40-foot truck-based simulation laboratory, to travel to MedStar Health facilities throughout the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region. The Mobile Sim Lab had trained more than 2,600 healthcare workers on a variety of skills when, in early spring 2020, a new urgent training need emerged.
As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded across the United States, MedStar Health began preparing for a potential surge in patients needing intensive care. If the number of critical cases began to climb exponentially, so would the demand for physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers trained to work in intensive care units (ICUs).
Along with other health systems in the region, MedStar Health had suspended elective surgeries and many other in-person forms of care during the initial weeks of its response, resulting in clinicians from other disciplines also being open to redeployment. With a refresh to intensive care skills taught as part of initial medical education and an orientation to the latest best practices and technology, select system clinicians would be prepared to care for the most critically ill patients as part of MedStar Health’s response to COVID-19 if needed.
To support MedStar Health’s COVID-19 readiness, MedStar SiTEL worked over a matter of weeks to develop a new ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp—a version of existing clinical training initiatives, customized to support the COVID-19 response in the ICU. The hands-on training was facilitated by a team of clinical educators and simulation specialists in collaboration with MedStar Health ICU physicians in MedStar SiTEL’s Mobile Simulation Lab (Mobile Sim Lab).
The ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp used the Lab’s two simulation bays to train up to six learners each on the latest best practices in:
- Personal Protective Equipment and personal risk management
- Ventilator management and troubleshooting
- Ultrasound-guided central venous line placement
- Video laryngoscopy and rescue airway training
- Principles of vasopressor management Sedation in the ICU
In partnership with the MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center (MTIC), the ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp also trained participants in MedStar Health’s eConsult telehealth offering.
Using this technology, MedStar Health clinicians can engage in video consultations with the system’s critical care doctors to address extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), palliative care, and ethics, among other topics that can arise when treating ICU patients.
Additionally, this hands-on, blended learning experience was preceded by a live or on-demand virtual education session.
Between April 9 and April 23, 2020, the MedStar SiTEL Mobile Sim Lab travelled to five locations to conduct the ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp with 138 clinicians from six MedStar Health hospitals, including:
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital
- MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital
- MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
- MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
- MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center
- MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
Because MedStar Health has advanced infrastructures for simulation, training, and education—as well as telehealth—already in place, the system is uniquely positioned to respond immediately and effectively to urgent education and consultation needs. MedStar Health has a longstanding commitment to making innovation, telehealth, and simulation-based learning accessible across its growing network of hospitals, ambulatory care centers, and physician offices. MedStar SiTEL and MTIC are part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation (MI2), whose mission is to catalyze innovation that advances health care.
July 2021 Update
Although the ICU Provider Mobile Bootcamp training program concluded in April 2020, the instructional team later presented findings from this effort at internal and external events, including the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare in 2021. They shared that participants in MedStar SiTEL’s just-in-time COVID-preparedness training reported increased self-efficacy for all skill sets. Based on literature accounts, we also have reason to believe that the increased self-efficacy likely contributed to reduced workplace stress levels.
As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted across the region and MedStar Health system, the MedStar SiTEL Mobile Simulation Lab plans to resume normal operations. This includes support of the MedStar Health Central Line Insertion Testing Program for new residents in the northern Baltimore-area hospitals, as well as nurse residency simulations throughout the system.
WJLA 7, “D.C. hospital using mobile lab to train as many physicians as possible to use ventilators” (April 10, 2020)
WTOP, “DC-area doctors prepare for coronavirus surge at ICU boot camp [LISTEN]” (April 14, 2020)
NBC 4, “Mobile Training Lab Offers Medical Boot Camp on Wheels” (April 15, 2020)
WUSA 9, “Mobile ICU boot camp prepares new wave of doctors to treat COVID-19 patients” (April 16, 2020)
The Baltimore Sun, “Coronavirus ICU Bootcamp” (April 16, 2020)
WJZ 13, “‘We’ll Be Ready’ | MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital Prepares In Case Of Surge In COVID-19 Patients” (April 16, 2020)
WBAL 11, “MedStar Health doctors train in preparation for potential surge in hospitalization” (April 16, 2020)
MI2 Newsroom, “MI2’s MedStar SiTEL Mobile Simulation Lab deployed in April 2020 for COVID-19 response” (June 25, 2020)
Page last updated: 07/01/21
MedStar SiTEL’s Mobile Simulation Lab helped prepare MedStar Health clinicians for the COVID-19 pandemic.
MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab (MedStar SiTEL) team in partnership with MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center