ALEX is not the first full bodied patient simulator to include posterior auscultation (Simulaids’ SMART STAT and Gaumard’s HAL offer this functionality), but, ALEX is the first simulator to boast expanded auscultation fields and high-fidelity sound.
How is this possible? Great question! We’ve utilized two new technologies that, together, make realistic sounds possible and provide an auscultation area far more authentic to a human patient.
Currently, the industry norm for the auscultation of full bodied patient simulators is complicated electronics and multi-channel audio. All simulators on the market today have tiny speakers at every desired sound location buried within the chest cavity that continuously play audio and compete with various other electronics. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, ‘boy, sounds on my patient simulator are awful!’ … that’s why.
ALEX is different, and vows to change the industry standard by:
- Using wireless Bluetooth technology. We put the speaker right next to the diaphragm of a stethoscope. So, instead of the sound coming from the manikin, the sound plays clearly into the stethoscope itself. The SmartScope™ is the device, or puck, you see below. Any stethoscope will do, simply pass the puck.
- Harnessing proximity sensors. Proximity sensors, or location ID tags, a realitvely small pieces of specially manufactured, durable film. The film is not fragile, it’s wireless, it doesn’t require a battery or power at all – it’s completely passive. These proximity sensors are placed under the skin of the simulator in customized locations. The proximity sensors become active when the SmartScope™ is near the film. So, when your SmartScope™ is on top of the posterior Left Upper Lobe (LUL) proximity sensor, you’ll hear crystal clear LUL lung sounds played on the tiny speaker right next to the diaphragm of your stethoscope.
- Expanding the field of auscultation. The literature suggests 78% of Medical Schools and 52% of Teaching Hospitals use simulation equipment to teach sound recognition. I’m going to venture a guess that that number is far higher today than it was in 2011 when the AAMC conducted their survey. I would also safely bet, Nursing education and Physician Assistant programs also use simulators for teaching the cardiopulmonary physical exam and sound recognition. Thus we felt expanding the field of auscultation was not only important but absolutely necessary.
*Photo Throw Back: an earlier version of of the auscultation layout
Tired of poor auscultation sounds on your full bodied simulator? Us too. The puck stops here.
Stop by the Simulaids booth (#237) at INACSL and tell us how you could see ALEX being used within your simulation program for one of our free Auscultation Tees (while supplies last).