This year will see the launch of a new international training centre for surgeons, medical specialists and other medical personnel. To establish this new high-tech centre, Amsterdam UMC is working in close collaboration with American medical technology firm Stryker, which provides medical devices and instruments for the operating theatres. The aim is to use simulators, virtual reality and artificial intelligence to further increase healthcare quality and reduce the cost of education worldwide.
The Amsterdam Skills Centre (ASC) covers approximately 3,700 square metres and will be built on Amsterdam UMC grounds at the AMC location in south-east Amsterdam (Zuidoost). In addition to twelve operating theatres and ten simulators, the ASC – which will open its doors in early 2019 – contains educational facilities, training laboratories, office space, two Stryker product showrooms and reception and catering areas. There is room for future expansion as well. This initiative was possible in part due to the close collaboration between AMC and VUmc, which joined forces administratively to become Amsterdam UMC during the course of this project. Professor Jaap Bonjer, Head of VUmc Surgery, is the driving force behind the project and the Amsterdam Skills Centre CEO. “The alliance between AMC and VUmc puts us in the top 5 European university medical centres.”
Limiting healthcare costs
Part of the reasoning behind this initiative is the fact that training as a medical specialist tends to take fourteen to eighteen years at the moment. “In comparison: learning to pilot a Chinook helicopter only requires four years. Why not follow the pilots’ lead and use simulators to learn how to perform operations more quickly?” argues Bonjer. “Healthcare is becoming increasingly complex and therefore more expensive. That applies to the methods employed – a clip to close a heart valve works well, but costs EUR 25,000 – and the equipment. Hybrid operating theatres are starting to closely resemble space stations. Smarter, faster learning can help to reduce the duration of training and healthcare costs. That means that healthcare professionals – like pilots – need to switch from on-the-job to off-the-job training. That’s quite a transition.”
“Smarter, faster learning can help to reduce the duration of training and healthcare costs.”
Share of mind
These guiding principles of cost reduction and off-the-job training align perfectly with Stryker’s mission: ‘Together with our customers we are driven to make healthcare better’. This firm, which employs 34,000 people worldwide, focuses on medical (operating) technology, orthopaedic surgery and neurotechnology. “To that end we supply medical professionals and surgeons in particular with products and services that make a difference, including training. We like to collaborate on innovations and R&D with opinion leaders in the medical field such as Bonjer,” states Stuart Silk, president of Stryker EMEA & Latin America and of Stryker European Operations (with its headquarters in Amsterdam). “This is not just through share of wallet, but especially through share of mind. The Amsterdam Skills Centre partnership is currently Stryker’s most important project worldwide. We wish to contribute to eliminating unnecessary costs, which is why we invest in quality and superior technology.” Stryker provides the ASC with the requisite medical devices and instruments. “It is a unique project involving all our divisions.” In addition to Stryker, Amsterdam UMC collaborates with Orzone, Moog and Touch Surgery.
Amsterdam UMC and Stryker feel a shared social responsibility for the fact that two thirds of the global population – 5 billion people – lack access to the most basic healthcare. “We want to make a change. This involves Caesarean sections, appendectomies, inguinal hernia repair and treatment of broken limbs. A total of 143 billion additional surgeries will be required year on year. We therefore intend to offer a short basic surgery and anaesthesiology curriculum at the ASC. Superior digital tools will hopefully allow for much shorter training periods,” state Bonjer and Silk together.
AT Osborne’s role
AT Osborne consultants have been involved in the ASC’s development since the initial stages in early 2017, at first to explore accommodation options for the centre. This resulted in the decision to redevelop the vacant kitchen building on Tafelbergweg. AT Osborne assisted with the development of the plans. The challenge here was the fact that the building design needed to be suitable for use in new ways each day. That called for a high degree of flexibility. After delivery of the Final Draft, AT Osborne guided the implementation tendering and contract process. For the sake of shorter lead times they opted for a construction team to build the Construction-Ready Design in parallel with the demolition of the interior furnishings. During the implementation phase, AT Osborne took care of contract and project management up to project delivery in late 2018. Despite the extremely tight lead times throughout the project, the collaboration was considered to be very pleasant. We are proud to have been part of this impressive project.