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Friday, 19 December 2014 10:33

Area Business Aiding in Ebola Fight

By Megan Harrington | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Health tech company mySmartHealthcare is fighting the Ebola virus from right here in Saratoga Springs.

The company, which is headquartered at 60 Railroad Place, launched a series of online training courses aimed at training healthcare professionals on the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) used to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola.

Karen Cornelius, COO of mySmartHealthcare says, “We noticed such a broad fear of it [the Ebola epidemic], so we got on it right away.”

Cornelius explained that safety breaches were occurring due to a combination of misinformation and improper procedures. For example, some health care providers were using duct tape to secure gowns to their wrists and since the tape can be difficult to remove properly, this actually led to a greater risk of contamination. The company saw the need for better instruction and is now one of the leading producers of simulations for donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) PPE.

While mySmartHealthcare is based in upstate New York, their reach is international with customers in China, Singapore, South America, Russia, Turkey and Canada. Locally, mySmartHealthcare has partnered with Albany Med to accredit courses so staff can receive continuing education credits.

Cornelius says that their product is unique because “We create simulations that require the user to go through every single step, it’s very interactive.” Cornelius explained that before her company began producing their simulations, health care providers typically only had exposure to a basic safety video and training sessions often included a dozen or more people. After the brief training, Cornelius says, “Everyone was charged to go and just do it right.”

And that, she says, is where problems can arise.

Simulations with mySmartHealthcare are more interactive than a video or group presentation, and after completing the training, providers have to pass an assessment and prove that they are proficient.

Hospitals can then use this as evidence that they are following CDC guidelines. Institutions can also track every step of the simulation. For example, if a lot of users are struggling on a specific step (e.g. removing gloves), they can hold a special training on that particular action. The interactive portion of the training is important, because as Cornelius says, “You learn better when you do something yourself.”

In addition to primary provider training, mySmartHealthcare also offers trained observer instruction. During news coverage of the transport of the infected Dallas nurse, you may remember the outcry surrounding the plain-clothed person holding a clipboard. Many viewers asked why the individual was not wearing PPE; however, Cornelius says this person is actually an integral part of the team. A trained observer’s job is to ensure all providers are following correct PPE protocol. While they do not have to don and doff their own PPE, they must be trained to notice any safety gaps.

Most importantly, mySmartHealthcare’s training can be accessed 24/7. The company maintains that providers can access it “Anywhere, Anytime, and Just in Time.”

Cornelius says the simulations are so important because they allow for learning in a safe, virtual environment where providers can’t harm themselves or anyone else. “Practice makes perfect especially with low volume, high stakes procedures”, Cornelius says.

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