Health education, besides its interest for the training of new professionals, is a key point for good (quality) and efficient (cost-optimized) healthcare practices.
Nowadays, the ongoing training process that graduate students (residents) and specialists themselves, must go through involves the use of experimental advanced technologies (virtual simulation, etc.) and operating rooms (in-vivo animal training). These resources must be used to protect the patient’s safety but are not available to all Universities, hospitals and healthcare agencies as yet.
This process is even more important in the case of minimally invasive techniques, where the technological support for healthcare procedures using minimal incisions or natural orifices, complicates the interpretation of anatomical structures and the application of therapies with different reference points to those routinely learned.
In this sense, our team and based on the experience gained throughout many years of medical training and training at all formative levels (undergraduate, graduate/residency and specialists ongoing training), has made it our mission to catalyze the learning process and professionals’ ongoing training using the advantages of technology, in a more affordable and friendly way by popular use, such as Virtual Reality on mobile devices or tablets.
With this type of technology, we can help all users learning and identifying the human anatomy associated with the main minimally invasive techniques used in various healthcare specialties (digestive, pneumology, urology, endovascular surgery, etc.) as if the users themselves became the surgical vision instruments utilized in these techniques, at the same time they enjoy their latest technology devices.
The use of technology for healthcare training and education
Using technology to teach minimally invasive techniques – mainly virtual simulation technology (system which connects the computer to a joystick device to represent a scenario and respond to user-computer interaction) – has been developed enough for routine use in the education and training of healthcare professions.
Our team, through the MOTIVA Technological Innovation Plan and the Chair of Medical Technologies at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has extensive experience in the application of virtual simulation technology for training students, residents and specialists. We are integrated in the Regional Healthcare Service and routinely perform this type of training in Universities and local Teaching Hospitals.
We consider using a more conventional and affordable technology to any user, to approach and capitalize the professional healthcare training education that these experts have already received to the minimally invasive techniques and their interpretation from the perspective of the technique itself (i.e. visualize the anatomy or therapeutic work space).
Virtual Reality Technology Through Mobile Devices or Tablets
In recent years, mobile technology, associated with the popularly called smartphones or tablets, has grown significantly and has become an affordable and user friendly technology, ensuring the success of any application developed for these devices.
In line with this mobile devices success and intrinsic versatility, Virtual Reality devices, housings or “glasses” have emerged for – using the mobile device – getting immersive stereo 3D vision.
This entails a huge leap in the use of common technology in order to create spaces or virtual environments for education purposes, and so, it is within this framework that our Group sees the opportunity to bring together the learning of minimally invasive techniques developing this technology. First, based on our experience and that of our partners, we have begun to apply it to learn the anatomy displayed on the main minimally invasive techniques (gastroscopy, bronchoscopy, colonoscopy, hysteroscopy and endovascular techniques).
StereoInMotion: Our Proposal
StereoInMotion is a spin-off which began as a result of the natural evolution process of the collaboration of a multidisciplinary team of technical and clinical professionals who cooperate in the development of applied technology to the healthcare sector. This initiative or startup came to life as a result of noticing that in the wide range of training workshops conducted with technology of virtual simulation, students, residents, and occasionally specialists, were not used to interpret and understanding the anatomy from the point of view of minimally invasive procedures or techniques (i.e. as anatomical structures are viewed from an endoscope).
Given this need, the application, Anatomyou, began to be developed. The main idea was that the users (student, resident or any healthcare science professional interested in minimally invasive procedures) could manage their mobile devices (smartphone or tablet) to see the anatomical structure systems associated with minimally invasive procedures as if they were working with the instruments used in such clinical procedures.
Anatomyou: Our pilot experience in VR
Anatomyou is a 3D-immersive app that teaches the anatomy associated with minimally invasive clinical procedures and it helps to understand it as if we were inside and seeing it in 3D.
Using this virtual reality technology through mobile devices, users themselves turn into a virtual endoscope which browses inside the anatomic systems related to the major minimally invasive clinical procedures.Turn into a virtual endoscope which browses inside the anatomic systems with #Anatomyou. Click To Tweet
With this application we have proposed a solution to the identified need. We tested it in medical schools of the universities in our region and with some residents and specialists, finding a high rate of acceptance of this technology and, although much work remains to be done, appearing to be a useful tool to complement the training already carried out by our team with virtual simulators and experimental operating rooms.
Therefore, we propose an affordable, user-friendly and entertaining solution for anyone who might be interested; with which we will be able to help the user in the learning and identification process of human anatomy associated with major minimally invasive techniques used in various healthcare specialties (digestive, pneumology, urology, endovascular surgery, etc.)
3D-immersive technology (virtual reality, augmented reality, haptic systems, etc.) is still an emerging technology and in our opinion, has much to contribute to areas such as healthcare and health education as well as clinical application as such.
From our Group, channeled through StereoInMotion, we are interested in this type of technology and keep working on the development and innovation of 3D-immersive technology applied to healthcare and to provide added value in all its stages and specialties; from health education ongoing training, to the actual clinical practice.
If you are interested in collaborating or participating in our projects, please do not hesitate contacting us through our social networks or via the web form.