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Virtual Laboratory and Imaging

an online simulation tool to enhance hospital disaster preparedness training experience

Carenzo, Luca; Ragozzino, Francesco; Colombo, Davide; Barra, Federico Lorenzo; Della Corte, Francesco; Ingrassia, Pier Luigi

European Journal of Emergency Medicine: April 2018 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 128–133
doi: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000421

Objective Hospitals play a pivotal role as basic healthcare providers during mass casualty incidents (MCIs). Radiological studies and emergency laboratory test are of high importance for the management of hospital patients. However, it is known that during these events, they can generate significant bottlenecks. Appropriate request of such tests is of utmost importance to not generate delays in the patient flow. The aim of this paper is to describe a software designed to increase the realism of hospital-based MCI training through a realistic reproduction of radiology and laboratory departments.

Methods In this paper, we present a Virtual Laboratory and Imaging system that we designed with the goal of increasing the realism of full-scale mass casualty simulations. The system is able to dynamically manage the speed and load of virtual departments while collecting data on usage and load, and provide data useful for the after-event debriefing. We tested this system in two pilot simulations involving, respectively, 105 and 89 simulated casualties.

Results The system, by measuring the number of requests and exams’ turnaround time, enabled an objective measurement of the laboratory and radiology workload during simulated MCIs. It was possible to identify bottlenecks and consequently use these data for after-action debriefing.

Conclusion The tool not only increased the simulation realism by adding the radiology and laboratory departments but also provided valuable data that could be used for educational and organizational purposes.

CRIMEDIM Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara, Italy

Correspondence to Francesco Della Corte, MD, CRIMEDIM Research Center in Emergency and Disaster Medicine, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Via Lanino 1, 28100 Novara, Italy Tel/fax: +39 0321660620; e-mail:

Received October 8, 2015

Accepted July 29, 2016

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