Tuesday, May 20, 2014

'Revolutionary' Virtual Ultrasound Training Simulator

In 2004 the Society and College of Radiographers identified a barrier that was preventing the training of enough ultrasound sonographers. There wasn't nearly enough time for trainees to engage with real patients while they were learning the procedure, and there simply weren't enough trainers to give students the attention they needed. Then in 2009, they issued a report that warned that a shortage of ultrasound operators in the UK was causing severe problems with a backlog of ultrasound patients waiting for the procedure.

Since they were unable to increase the hours in a day when a trainee has access to a patient and the ultrasound equipment under the supervision of a trainer, they turned to a virtual reality ultrasound training simulator. Developed by Cardiff University, the simulator provides life-like trainerless training sessions that allow students to learn the entire process, spending as much time with the virtual patient as they need to in order to master all the components of an ultrasound procedure.

ScanTrainer Virtual Ultrasound Training Simulator
Cardiff University - Virtual Reality Ultrasound Training Simulator

A BBC story last month by Steffan Messenger titled, Ultrasound Training Boosted by 'Revolutionary' Simulator, discusses ScanTrainer, the new simulator that is teaching ultrasound scanning skills and techniques to trainees. The program is successful because it includes a virtual patient, but also a virtual expert trainer who guides the student through the simulation and teaches them the proper techniques as they progress. This video demonstrates how sonographer trainees learn complex ultrasound scanning skills, without the need for live patients and with minimal expert supervision.

Ultrasound Training Simulator Video
Surgical training simulators are fast becoming the standard for providing improved and standardized training within budgets, quickly and effectively. Simulators allow for the development of innovative and sustainable teaching programs that engage trainees, allowing them to spend the countless hours required to be able to master any procedure.

In other healthcare-related job training simulation news:

Virtual Reality Simulator Hones Eye Surgery Skills
Vanderbilt University Medical Center begins using Eyesi Surgical, a virtual reality simulator for intraocular surgical training that teaches both cataract and retinal operations.
“We have already been able to see that their microsurgical skills have much improved. And with 24/7 access, residents are able to utilize the system as much as they need, while getting detailed feedback from the computer about their surgical skills.”
Laura Wayman, M.D., Director of Resident Education for the Vanderbilt Eye Institute.

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