Episode 54:  Bio-Technology Part 1: Simulations Role in Enhancing Health Care and Safety


Episode Summary:

Bio-Technology is exciting and rapidly expanding. It is the future of health and healthcare while the technology is far-reaching. One aspect is simulation technology. What is simulation technology? Consider how we use simulation to train pilots; what about using simulation to train surgeons and the surgical team? In this episode, we interview Dr. Robert Sweet, MD, a leader in simulation training for healthcare professionals.


Robert M. Sweet, MD, FACS, MAMSE

Professor of Urology, Surgery, and Bioengineering (adj)

Medical Director UW Medicine Kidney Stone Center

Chief, Division of Healthcare Simulation Sciences

Executive Director of WISH and CREST

University of Washington

Dr. Sweet is a Joint Professor of Urology and Surgery and Adjunct Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Washington.  He is the Inaugural Chief of the Division for Healthcare Simulation Science and the Founding Medical Director of the UW Medicine Kidney Stone Center.

Dr. Sweet founded and led the University of Minnesota’s SimPORTAL and cofounded the University of Washington’s ISIS, which was renamed the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho Institute for Simulation Technologies (WISH) when he assumed the Executive Director position.  He is the PI for all programs in the Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST), including the “Advanced Modular Manikin.”

During This Episode, We Discuss:

  1. What is Surgical Simulation? How is it utilized?
  2. How today’s simulation differs from simulation technology of the past: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and simulation in Mixed Reality.
  3. Applications for Paramedics, The U.S. Military, Emergency Medicine Physicians, Internal Medicine Physicians, Pediatricians, Orthopedics, ENT 
  4. The ability of simulation to create unexpected or uncomfortable scenarios that the entire team can react to, review, debrief, and improve in a safe environment.
  5. Current limitations of virtual reality simulators and the current efforts to resolve and correct those limitations through more complex and life-like models using advanced materials science, integrated computer-generated models, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence.
  6. The evolution of simulation science with computer scientists, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, special effects artists from the film industry, sculptors and molders, graphic artists, human factor engineers, and clinicians.

Quotes (Tweetables):

“Simulation goes beyond Surgery and involves all members of the healthcare team, we are even beginning to use simulation for education for patients as well.”

                                                                    Dr. Rob Sweet

“Teaching tactile physical and nontactile skills, for instance, teaching professionalism. Focusing on communication for teams in the form of debriefs in a safe environment, training for an uncomfortable scenario A shared mental model.”

                                                                         Dr. Rob Sweet

 “The limitation of current robotic virtual simulators is that they can’t model soft tissue behavior. Actual complex things like dissection and navigating around critical structures are not quite there yet…a really important area for development.”

                                                                            Dr. Rob Sweet

“Allows us to build mannequins or physical parts that are smart, that have the capability to sense what we are doing and give feedback to our performance.”

“We are beginning to make the tissue more dynamic.”

                                                                             Dr. Rob Sweet

“I would love to see and shift our focus in using the type of data we’re getting in systems we’re building in simulation toward a more predictive model (through Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning). It will be exciting to see the next generation of robots with simulation in the background providing therapeutics and real-time protecting structures that we may not even see in real-time.”

                                                                               Dr. Rob Sweet

Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies



The WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) is the University of Washington’s premiere simulation training facility for healthcare education. Its mission is to improve the health of the public through innovative programs for the development, application, and dissemination of simulation science throughout the five states: Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) region.

Episode Transcript:

Coming soon!

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