Inova Fairfax Helps Doctors Literally ‘Practice' Medicine

A program at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia is giving the term "practicing medicine" a new meaning.

The Inova Center for Advanced Medical Simulation is an effort to keep doctors, nurses and medical students engaged both with the latest in medical techniques as well as some of the more usual challenges in medicine.

"It is a laboratory for our physicians and nurses, students, any health care professional to train, whether they're new or whether they're a seasoned clinician," said Director Dr. Craig Cheifitz, who helped develop the center.

The center has 14 rooms, including an operating room, and state-of-the-art technology.

"We do have very high tech mannequins, which have the ability to bleed – artificial blood, of course -- voice files, can even change their vitals," Cheifitz said.

Health care professionals work in teams and deal with everything from infectious diseases to head wounds to complicated births. The exercises are done in real time, and the center is frequently at capacity, Cheifitz said. It's one of seven medical simulation centers in Virginia.

"Medical education for years has been such that after you graduate, you might learn more from a textbook or a conference," Cheifitz said. "Yet when you look at the airline industry, they utilize simulators. If you look at military, they're simulating. Firefighters, police the same. So why not healthcare?"

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