Flying Eye Hospital takes physician training to the skies

Airplane wing

Providers and volunteers who want additional training on eye surgeries need only take to the skies.

The Flying Eye Hospital, a partnership between UC Davis Medical Center and Orbis International, is built inside of an airplane. Its goal is to teach physicians and community workers in developing countries strategies for treating and preventing visual impairment, reports The Sacramento Bee.

Flying Eye is an accredited hospital, according to The Bee. On-board, training simulations are offered using patient simulator mannequins, which can mimic common surgery complications like seizures or breathing issues.

“With few exceptions, everything you expect in a land-based hospital, you can find on the plane,” Len Sparks, director of operations at Mobile Medical International Corp., which designed Flying Eye, told The Bee.

The plane, according to Flying Eye’s website, is also equipped with a full size classroom and patient post-surgery recovery room for additional teaching uses. Another room also allows doctors to practice laser surgery procedures, which do not require the same sterile environment as a standard OR, according to the site.

Training sessions and seminars can also be broadcast from the plane for those who need remote lessons or consultations, The Bee writes. Such training is key to effective patient care, where a lack of it hampers important discussions, and it may be especially important in fields like telemedicine, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

The current plane is the third generation of Flying Eye Hospitals, according to The Bee. Since the first one opened in 1982, the program has visited more than 90 countries. In 2015, Flying Eye trained more than 30,000 doctors and treated more than 2 million patients onboard its partner institutions, according to the article.

- read The Bee article
- visit Flying Eye’s website

Related Articles:
Future physicians need telemedicine education, training
Lack of physician training still hampers end-of-life conversations
Hospitals boost physician leader training