Daemen College center looks to improve patient outcomes through enhanced training

By Paul Lane
Buffalo Business First

Enhanced conferencing and debriefing opportunities will be part of the training available at the Daemen College Center for Interprofessional Learning and Simulation. (Image courtesy of Daemen College)

Daemen College's newest medical training facility is operational just in time to guide students through a new way of treating patients in the new academic year.

Daemen's Center for Interprofessional Learning and Simulation officially opened Sept. 9. The center focuses on using real-world clinical experiences and utilized exam rooms, a counseling room and telehealth space. Simulated patient scenarios will feature actors portraying specific symptoms and circumstances to be diagnosed.

The goals are threefold, according to Gregg Shutts, interim executive director. The center will work to further the development of standardized programming, increase interprofessional education and simulate situations that will be found in the workforce.

"When you send students out on internships, there's no way to guarantee those students have the essential experiences they need when they graduate," he said. "You want to make sure they can communicate with patients who are visually impaired, or speak by sign language through an interpreter, or otherwise bridge communication lines."

About 450 Daemen students are expected to use the center each year, Shutts said. Coming from majors that develop registered nurses, nurse practitioners and therapists, the goal is to have them working together to coordinate on patient care and best practices. Together, they can evaluate the best way to treat the patient, getting input from all other potential practitioners whom the patient might see through the process of care. That brings the students in line with how the health-care profession is trending, he said.

"We're moving toward value-based health care — is the patient healthier?" he said. "It's not about generating a bill. It's about maximizing outcomes."

There will also be a workforce development component. Current professionals will be invited to use the center to enhance their skills or fine-tune their processes, Shutts said.

Whoever will use the 2,400-square-foot center, best Covid-19 practices are in place. Shutts called it a "pleasant surprise" that the center is opening now, with the only coronavirus-related delay coming from out-of-state contractors who were unable to install the cameras and other technology in the center. Local contractors will work with that out-of-state company to get the tech in by next month.

Getting that up will help with the telehealth training, which Shutts said is becoming an increasing need. Many practices have gone at least one-quarter telehealth appointments during the pandemic, something he doesn't think will revert back to old form once the pandemic ends.

Future plans call for a Community Advisory Board, made up of local professionals from various fields, to be a part of the center's leadership hub.

"Our goal should be improving quality of life. We're going to be measured on that, so we're going to have to be able to work toward that," he said. "The center will help with that."

This isn't the only health-care-related facility upgrade debuting this semester at the region's colleges and universities. Work was able to continue during the Covid-19 pandemic on D'Youville College's Health Professions Hub, which is expected to open before the end of 2020. Waivers were also granted to St. Bonaventure's School of Health Professions, which should be done by Thanksgiving.

This article originally appeared in Buffalo Business First.