Castle + Anderson recently released SimMon, a tool that simulates a remotely controlled patient monitor. The app runs on an iPhone or iPad and can help train clinicians as they learn to track changes in blood pressure, oxygen saturation and heart rate.
In an email to InformationWeek Healthcare, Niels Castle of Castle + Anderson said the app stemmed from his twin background in nursing and computer science. "SimMon is a great way of giving back to the medical simulation community," he said. "There's no substitute for hands-on experience."
SimMon allows users to connect a pair of iOS devices via Wi-Fi and remotely control vital signs on a monitor simulator. One device controls the other, allowing students to adjust any of the parameters from one iPad, for example, which in turn appear on the second iPad. Additionally, the app can connect equally well via BlueTooth, and its standalone mode is great for use with mirroring via an AppleTV to a typical television screen or projector. For doctors, Castle added, the app holds value particularly with the release of the iPad mini.
Castle said the idea for SimMon stemmed from his time studying critically ill patients in a simulation lab, when, due to budget constraints, there was only one simulation station available for students. "That meant a lot of waiting around," he said. "Luckily, I had brought my MacBook and before the course was over, the first version of SimMon was running on a pair of iPhones. It's crazy that access to simulation hardware was keeping us from engaging in simulation back then, but the same is true on a much larger scale."
[ For another point of view on PHRs, see Why Personal Health Records Have Flopped. ]
The traditional simulation setup, Castle continued, is complex, expensive, and tucked away in simulation centers. "That's all right if you can find time to travel to the simulation center with your entire team and have a complex technical scenario lined up." SimMon, he said, isn't aiming to take the place of these simulation centers, but is instead aiming to take medical simulation to the world outside them. "SimMon takes simulation to where healthcare is actually provided: the ward, ambulance or helicopter..." Castle said.
Looking ahead, Castle said the SimMon app is still evolving, and new features are in the pipeline. "I have been blown away with the constructive feedback I've received. It's fantastic to hear that the SimMon users can see how they can benefit from [it] and are taking time out to suggest additional features."
Castle added, "I [want] to keep SimMon reasonably priced, simple to set up and operate -- key factors in taking simulation to a wider audience."
The app is available in the Apple App Store for $13.99.
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