Improving Medical Technology

The next generation of health care professionals will be under more pressure than ever to keep up with the latest technology in health sciences. At the same time continued innovation in health care is also in demand. One organization in Tampa, Florida is meeting these challenges.

TRANSCRIPT

The next generation of health care professionals will be under more pressure than ever to keep up with the latest technology in health sciences.

At the same time, continued innovation in health care is also in demand.

One organization in Tampa, Florida, is meeting these challenges.

Here's the story.

So what the PerSim does is it takes a computer-generated virtual person, your virtual patient, and it puts it over your mannequin.

So then it sort of brings the whole mannequin to life.

The guy can move.

He can have seizures.

He can have trouble breathing.

He can turn a different color, all these things that a mannequin can't really do.

And so we really wanted to focus on how do we make high-definition medical simulation accessible to all people in health care, including and especially at the front lines of health care, which helped us develop PerSim specifically for first responders.

So we're hoping to improve first responder training at a lower cost.

Augmented reality is where most of what you're seeing and interacting with... most of your surrounding world is your real surrounding world.

You're just taking a few... like, a person... You're taking a virtual person and you put them into the environment, sort of like a virtual patient.

The only thing that you see in our environment that is virtual is the virtual human.

Everything else you see is real, so it's in your real environment, so if you wanted to do this in the back of an ambulance, you can do it in the back of an ambulance.

So what we have is the PerSim patient simulator, and we're using augmented reality technology to help us develop these high-fidelity, very realistic, computer-animated patients in this space.

So what we have in front of us is a mannequin, and the reason we use a mannequin body is to give people a visual and tactile center for the simulation, so if the patient goes into cardiac arrest, we can actually do CPR on the mannequin.

That's difficult to do when there's not something physically present.

The other component of this is the Microsoft HoloLens, and this is the HoloLens, and it is essentially a computer, a projection screen and glasses all in one, and what we have here are two small screens right in the front that project our animation in space, and there are a variety of sensors across the front of the HoloLens that detect the shape of the space, like the shape of this room and where everything is in relationship to the wearer.

So you actually wear this like a pair of glasses, and the HoloLens does the rest of the work.

So what we have here is just our patient kind of at rest.

He's just breathing normally.

He's right here in front of you.

Yes.

The head up here and the feet trailing off in this direction.

Amazing.

What we can do is we can take this normal-looking person and make him look like he's having a lot of trouble breathing just by tapping a button on the controller.

Yes, I see him breathing heavier.

He's having trouble breathing, and I see beads of sweat all over his face and body beginning.

So we can do other things like make him act like perhaps he's having a heart attack.

My goodness.

One of the things we do that's very impressive is it's difficult to teach people what dramatic medical presentations look like, such as a seizure.

We've actually built a seizure module for our simulator.

That is amazing.

And so now, instead of telling a student that their plastic mannequin laying out on a table is having a seizure, I just press a button and they have to interpret what the animation, what the simulator are doing to correctly arrive at the proper treatment and what to do with the patient.

Yes.

So it just allows that higher level of thinking without the need for the instructor to prompt or prime the students' thinking process.

One of the big ideas is democratizing medical knowledge to the forefront of medicine, not just for doctors and nurses.

The other big idea is making high-definition medical simulation accessible all along the chain of health care, even to the front lines, and really, the people at the front lines of health care even include firefighters and police.

The health care goes way beyond the front door of a hospital or clinic these days, so training people and making them... and building competencies in that, I think is important.

Anything that strengthens the overall health care system and people that work in it at all levels is just better for everyone involved, for society in general.

Well, we're very excited that the system is portable, and it gives that really higher level of realism that we think is so important to allow providers to practice their craft in, really, a no-risk environment, at least as far as the patient is concerned, but we're also really focused on making this affordable.

A lot of systems out there today simply cannot afford high-quality patient simulation because it's simply too expensive, and we're focused on keeping our prices down and making this an affordable solution that yields that portable, realistic patient simulation that really we think is going to help a lot of medical providers and systems provide better care for their sick patients.