Dr. John B Fortune, CEO & Medical Director
Ten years ago, the field of medical simulation was an up-and-coming educational innovation to be used for the training of medical students, nurses, and other medical personnel. By providing a realistic simulation experience, skills could be taught and acquired in a controlled environment without the fear of compromising patient safety. At that time, however, the lofty prices of surgical instruments and insufficient provisions for learning and practicing surgical skills compelled educators and medical students to scour operating rooms and hospitals for outdated or discarded sutures and surgical instruments for practice. Simulated skin, at the time, usually consisted of pig’s feet which did not seem to be an effective substitute. Noting these issues, Dr John B Fortune, an active trauma surgeon and surgical educator, identified a need for inexpensive learning systems that could provide the learners all the materials and supplies necessary for practicing surgical tasks to an acceptable level of proficiency. Leveraging technology, his healthcare experience, and expertise, in 2008, he founded Sim*Vivo with the drive to offer a comprehensive learning system for surgical task training marked by affordability, flexibility, and portability. Today, the company provides learners with practical simulation modules comprising the best equipment and supplies that offer an opportunity for deliberate and distributive practice to learn, train, and improve surgical performance. ‘‘What we are providing is an economical and realistic ‘practice experience’ which is the key to really becoming proficient in a skill like surgery,” remarks Neely Fortune, manager and marketing director of Sim*Vivo.
What we are providing is an economical and realistic ‘practice experience’ to really become proficient with a surgical skill
The company’s most popular product, Sim*Suture, is a complete Learning System that provides a realistic suture board with printed guidelines, instruments, plenty of suture, instructional videos, and a guidebook written by Dr Fortune who also heads Sim*Vivo as its CEO and Medical Director. With appropriate mentoring and dedicated practice, the learner who completes the exercises in the Learning System should be ready to successfully complete assessments for proficiency. In addition to Sim*Suture, Sim*Vivo also offers Sim*Tie, a surgical knot tying system, and Sim*Bowel, an enterotomy closure and anastamosis Learning System. All of Sim*Vivo’s products provide step-by-step instruction manuals with the required suture materials, instruments, guidebook, and instructional videos. Along with Learning Systems, Sim*Vivo also maintains a large inventory of suture material, instruments, central venous lines, and IV catheters. Compared to the simulation industry’s high-fidelity mannequins that may cost a fortune or the expense of ordering through the hospital supply department, “We don’t sell anything for more than 50 dollars,” says Neely Fortune, “the focus is always on high quality at a reasonable cost.”
Sim*Vivo’s products are currently being used worldwide in a variety of educational institutions, including academic medical centers, nursing schools, veterinary schools, dental schools, and even high schools that are using these products to provide hands-on exposure to explore health career options. There has also been a recent interest by the military to use the products as part of their recruiting strategy. The company is soon to launch additional products for instruction in dissection skills and vascular surgery, and is currently designing more realistic, multi-purpose boards for closing complex wounds through plastic surgical manipulations. Over the next few months, Sim*Vivo plans to expand their product line to meet the requirements of simulation labs with a focus on realism, quality and cost-effectiveness. Sim*Vivo has undoubtedly become a very significant part of the healthcare simulation market with major growth potential in the long term.