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MUSC start-up to commercialize training

MUSC’s leadership in medical simulation training will pay off nationally thanks to a new contract recently approved.
SimTunes LLC, has entered into a contract with Laerdal Medical to sublicense intellectual property developed at the MUSC Center for Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety, a Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) supported by the state and a partnership with Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC).
Headquartered in Charleston, SimTunes is a start-up company founded by John Schaefer, M.D., and Heyward Coleman in 2008 to create and commercialize innovative simulation educational technology for training physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.
Schaefer is the Lewis Blackman Patient Safety Endowed Chair in the Center for Clinical Effectiveness and a member of the MUSC faculty. Heyward Coleman is a business executive with 30 years experience in starting and developing new businesses. SimTunes has developed logic and software to help make medical simulation educational material available to users.
Through the agreement, SimTunes is granting Laerdal Medical, a global manufacturer and marketer of medical simulation equipment and medical training products, the rights to the logic and software that will enable global distribution of SimTunes-created medical simulation educational material. In addition, the contract provides for the subleasing of educational material from SimTunes through a partnership between Laerdal and HealthStream Inc., a leading provider of learning and research solutions for the health care industry.
“This arrangement provides a unique opportunity to rapidly make the educational material developed in South Carolina available worldwide and can result in a significant improvement in the manner in which health care professionals are trained. It’s very exciting in terms of the potential impact on patient care and the state’s economy,” Schaefer said.
Medical simulation is a rapidly growing field, revolutionizing how physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals learn to care for their patients. It involves the use of sophisticated human simulators controlled by software that simulate specific human conditions—childbirth, for example—that enable students to learn how to treat certain conditions. The student’s performance is captured by the computer, allowing for an objective evaluation of their performance, and ultimately to health care providers who are better trained.
MUSC is a leader in medical simulation. In 2006, MUSC recruited Schaefer, a recognized pioneer in the field, to HSSC and CoEE-supported Center for Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety. Since that time, Schaefer has established a statewide network of medical simulation centers at MUSC and with HSSC partners—Clemson University, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center and the University of South Carolina, as well as at Greenville Technical College. Palmetto Health also has a simulation center. Schaefer led in the development of simulation material used at these centers.
According to MUSC Dean Emeritus Jerry Reves, M.D., the SimTunes-Laerdal agreement is a major win for MUSC, the CoEE program and for HSSC.
“The Center for Clinical Effectiveness and Patient Safety was established with funding from the COEE program and HSSC with the goal of creating technology that would create economic opportunities and improve public health,” he said.
“The creation of the start-up company SimTunes and licensing of its products for the world marketplace demonstrates that CoEE works as a stimulator of economic development. South Carolina is now a national model in medical education and training, which means better, safer care for patients.”

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.