Health Care Trends in Florida
Doctors and other medical professionals travel to Florida from around the world to learn at two of the most prominent training facilities in the country.
Nadia Bassil, 29, a first-year resident at Morton Plant Hospital in Tampa, trained with a team of health providers on an “infant” simulator at CAMLS and was able to review their work on videos and by watching other students through two-way mirrors. The learning experience was true to life but without any consequences on an actual human patient. “Anxiety-provoking,” she says — “you read about it in the books and stuff, but in the heat of the moment, my mind went blank.”
The centers’ business models are complex and multifaceted. A hospital might contract with Nicholson to teach a group of surgeons on its staff, for example, the most current laparoscopic procedures. Meanwhile, as a part of USF, CAMLs can provide a component of the medical school’s instructional program for some residents and med students.
Both centers have standing arrangements with medical device companies like Intuitive Surgery, Karl Storz and Stryker, which supply the centers with equipment, then send technicians and physicians to be trained and to train others. The companies also use the centers to garner feedback on devices and procedures still under development.
Both centers host groups of physicians from various specialities for training, which can include both classroom instruction and procedures on either sophisticated patient simulators or human cadaveric or animal tissue. Both centers do contract research; Nicholson is conducting research for the Defense Department, for example, involving how telesurgery can be used effectively.
And both centers see themselves as economic drivers at the local and state levels, attracting groups of affluent, influential physicians as “tourists” and highlighting the medical and high-tech profiles of their respective communities and Florida.
While both centers do work in training and education that make them competitors at some level, there are broader opportunities for the centers to collaborate in research and development on procedures and new technologies, says Rick Wassel, Nicholson Center’s chief administrator. The two organizations are in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on simulation projects, he says.