While a lot of the hype centered on Virtual Reality is being focused on video gaming, there are far more important and innovative uses for the technology on the horizon. Not only will VR provide people with brand new ways to communicate and interact with each other online, it is going to allow for incredibly immersive and engaging educational experiences. Virtual Reality is already being explored as a way to simulate real world environments, from museums to crime scenes. But one of the areas that has gotten to VR first is the medical and education sector, which is leveraging the technology to create accurate and life-like medical training experiences.
While 3D Systems is primarily known as a 3D printing company, in 2014 they purchased medical simulation and imagining company Simbionix, which develops cutting-edge medical simulators, an advanced simulation management system and patient specific simulation technologies. With the acquisition of Simbionix, 3D Systems became one of the top developers of medical education solutions and equipment, and have used their own longtime familiarity with 3D software to further enhance their products. Today Simbionix equipment software can be found in medical centers, hospitals, colleges and medical training facilities all over the world, and they regularly team up with educational institutions and organizations to develop up-to-date training curricula.
This week 3D Systems announced that they are starting a new and ongoing collaboration with CHEST, the American College of Chest Physicians. The partnership was formed to develop standardized educational materials for using the Simbionix BRONCH Mentor virtual reality bronchoscopy training simulator. The CHEST Standardized Curriculum Module for Essential Bronchoscopic Skills and Diagnostic Bronchoscopy was designed to provide medical professionals and students the ability to safely learn and demonstrate basic bronchoscopic procedural skills, as well as develop their clinical knowledge with hands-on training to foster informed medical decision-making.
“We are pleased to partner with 3D Systems to deliver a standardized interventional pulmonology curriculum, allowing individual programs to offer training that’s been validated through CHEST’s hands-on simulation programs. This partnership is a strong example of CHEST’s commitment to providing essential education and resources at critical times for the chest medicine community.” said Senior Vice President of Education of CHEST, Nicole Augustyn.
While the risks associated with a bronchoscopy are typically minimal, improper training can still lead to extreme patient discomfort. It can result in side effects like torn or scratched airways, damage to the vocal cords or even bleeding after the procedure is used to take a biopsy. The new training module combines CHEST’s 85 years of experience with 3D Systems’ knowledge of 3D simulation software to create a system that offers relevant training and assessment without risk to a live patient. The standardized curriculum provides a more realistic mode of practice, that will help develop practitioner dexterity and familiarity with the procedure.
The curriculum combines theoretical educational materials and clinical decision-making quizzes and pairs it with hands-on simulation practice, including video tutorials and tasks that are designed to enable core bronchoscopic competencies. It will also include clinical segments that will challenge and assess cognitive and psychomotor skills as a single entity, which is a first for this type of training material. The curriculum covers the full clinical workflow, including the entire patient evaluation process. That consists of the initial evaluation, potential procedural strategies, techniques, final results and long-term patient care management.
3D Systems and their Chinese distributor Beidestar Technology Development will be showcasing the Standardized CHEST Curriculum for the BRONCH Mentor at the 2016 CHEST World Congress. The conference is being held in Shanghai from April 15th to the 17th at booth 8. You can learn more about CHEST here, and more about Simbionix here. Discuss in the 3DS & CHEST forum over at 3DPB.com.