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Re: Visibility of SimMan 3 G on a network

  •  07-05-2010, 11:16 PM

    Re: Visibility of SimMan 3 G on a network

    As you are finding out, there is a great chasm between the objectives that users have (especially simulation users) and the objectives of campus and corporate IT.  As a member of the IT staff and the go-to-person for medical simulation support, I have worked hard to find a balance between meeting user objectives and the mandate made upon IT for securing the network.  While universities have FERPA to concern itself with, hospital settings also have HIPAA.  Then financial entities within both of those genres have Sarbones-Oxley.  I think that IT folks get a lot of heat for the limitations that are placed on the users, when the heat on IT is much greater at the regulatory level. 

    (addressed to all readers) As simulation specialists that rely on IT, you need to develop a warm and collaborative relationship with someone in your IT department.  You will need at least one advocate that will understand your objectives.  Give them a hands-on tour of the simulator and show them all the components, helping them understand the function of each.  With a SimMan 3G, you will need someone who understands wireless networking, and has some input with other IT professionals if they don't have direct control over SSID configuration of protocol and encryption.  Both protocol and encryption work hand-in-hand to enable communication between devices and and the access point as well as how that information is transmitted and received.  Encryption ensures that no one else can make heads or tails of data that is in transit.

    (addressed to all readers) Another way to win over IT is to include them in your plans for technology purchases, especially if it involves computer and network support.  Whether a SimMan or SimMan 3G is in use, if video capture is involved, then the network will be used.  The AVS works best when all computers are on the same subnet, so you want to include your IT department in your simulator rollout plans.  Who supports your computers when they go down?  Your IT department will want to know about the technology that they are asked to support.  My observation here has been that when my IT supervisor understood the scope of the technology used in simulation, he freed me to be at the Nursing department's disposal.  Nursing education is still an academic function, and some institutions split technology support responsibilities between ACADEMIC endeavors and Office/Faculty/Staff and administrative roles.  Try to understand the hiarchy of your IT department so that you know you are talking to the right person. 

    If you really think about it (speaking generally to all readers), how would you like to be the last person to know about a project in which your skillset is most fitting, and then being asked to be responsible for the outcome of that project?  Your IT people are not academic, but you would be hard pressed to get anything done in the classroom or lab without their expertise.  The best way to keep feet from dragging is to ask them along for the entire journey, they could even make your journey a lot more smoother and might even be able to save you some money and get you there faster.

    (still speaking to all readers) As a technician, I have been blessed to be included in the decision processes of our new building, and the design of our control rooms and simulation center.  In return, our nursing department has benefited from my attention to little details like hardware compatibility, access to campus-wide licensing, computers being included in rotational cycles so that newer tech was made available at no further cost to the department.  You might be surprised to learn just how many resources are available to you from people who previously were resistent to your objectives. 

    Sorry, Vincent.  This post has been expanded to address an issue that would be helpful to others, not just in your situation with the 3G.  Over and over again, I have seen even well-funded and experienced simulation centers struggle to have the needed IT support from their parent instition's IT, and it seemed appropriate to include some comments that I think would be most helpful to the majority of health educators using simulation who have been frustrated by the lack of support.  It seems that your IT has tried to make some accommodations, but simply do not understand what is needed to make it work.  Hopefully you will be able to get their attention long enough for them to understand the specifications of your SimMan 3G, and make the Access Point and Router friendlier to the system without compromizing institution-wide security.  These simulators are complex output devices, designed to produce an outcome that falls outside of most IT staff's experience, but they don't have to be nurses, EMTs, or physicians to grasp what you are trying to do with them when the devices use conventional means of communciations (serial cables, USB, network (wired and Ethernet), laptops and workstations, touch monitors and cameras).

    I hope that this might help others who have found only frustration when getting help apart from their vendors.

    I'll watch for further updates. 

    H. Michael Young
    CIELO Operations Manager
    University of the Incarnate Word
    Center for Interprofessional Experiential Learning & Observation.
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