It is no secret that military spending has gone down since sequestration (and other spending cuts), and simulation was one of the areas to take a major hit from this. This has led to increased private simulation lab interest and funding.
I remember attending the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare at the San Diego Convention Center in 2012. The sounds of my automated ventilator were constantly drowned out by faux gunfire and helicopter blades. Half of the people that walked by my booth were in uniform. Mannequins sported ragged gashes, shrapnel and even face paint.
Fast forward to 2014 in Orlando, these curiosities were nowhere to be found. Instead many of the rubber cadavers wore hospital gowns. Plenty of grave injuries made themselves present, but they were along the lines of blocked airways and organ complications. The focus of this industry is changing. While military spending is down, private spending in the realm of simulation is still very high. Simulation labs are becoming a new standard in modern hospitals, and those on the cutting edge of this industry are always looking for a way to improve their users’ experience.
Private User Attractiveness
As this change occurs, companies are beginning to ask questions about what will make their devices more appealing to private users. Cost is clearly not an issue. In 2012, a very high-end lung simulator would have cost between 25,000 and 35,000 USD. Just last week, at a show in Paris, I was introduced to a new lung simulation system with a base price of 46,000 Euros—well over 60,000 USD at the time.
Key Factors in Increasing Private Lab Simulation Attention
So, if cost is not an issue, how do we tap into this growing wealth of enthusiasm for simulation equipment? I won’t claim to have all of the answers, but customers have repeatedly asked questions that lead me to believe that the key factors are:
- Anthropomorphism—Simulation lab directors tend to want their hardware to look human. This helps users to relate to the procedures that they are performing and increases the learning experience.
- Durability—No one wants to spend 60,000 dollars on a device that will not last. Some of the most marketable simulation devices that I have seen have boxy steel frames or rugged, built-in carts that make transportation safe and easy.
- Availability of Support—It’s a lot easier to be confident buying a unit with a substantial guarantee, warranty, or support policy.
- The Range of Use—Very few customers will buy an extravagant device to simulate a single condition. The most successful simulators have a wide range of both “normal” and “abnormal” settings.
- Reputation—The industry talks. If one intubation simulator has been bought by the majority of the simulation labs in a given area, new simulation labs nearby are likely to purchase it. It is becoming more important than ever to maintain excellent relationships with customers, as both complaints and praise can be spread worldwide on popular media sites.
The industry is in a constant state of flux of change; at Michigan Instruments, we always keep our ear to the ground and function in a consistent state of improvement, ensuring quality products no matter what. Reach out to us anytime to learn more and see how we can best help you.