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Augmented Reality

U Michigan Health to Tap Mixed Reality for Student Clinical Practice


Photo: GigXR

The University of Michigan Health is co-developing a mixed-reality curriculum for medical students. The institution is working with GigXR to develop the XR Procedure Training Suite, a training application that uses holographic patients and mixed reality to help students develop manual and practical skills.

GigXR, which produces HoloHuman and HoloPatient, is a provider of immersive learning solutions for universities and medical systems.

According to the two organizations, learners will be able to observe numerous patient "presentations" and practice diagnostic skills such as taking vitals, listening to the patient's lungs and comparing X-rays and CT scans. Instructors can also introduce complications to the scenarios, such as quickly deteriorating vital signs, disease progression, punctured vessels, vomiting, bleeding, procedural complications and pain.

"Traditional simulation methods require students to work with lab equipment, such as manikins and task trainers, that is increasingly difficult to access and apply at scale," said Mark Cohen, a professor of Surgery, Pharmacology and Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Medicine, the academical medical center of the university, in a press release. "Mixed reality places the holographic patient right in front of the learner, to visualize critical techniques, such as aspirating an abscess and line placement, while still maintaining the collaborative, hands-on experience of standing around the patient with other learners."

Cohen added that being able to "safely practice skills and techniques outside of a simulation lab, or in any environment, with high-fidelity, true-to-life XR patients" accelerates students' "readiness and preparedness for the clinic."

Citing a systematic review of studies on the use of virtual, augmented and mixed reality that found it 93% effective as a primary or supplementary teaching tool, Cohen noted that the goal for creating the training suite wasn't just to speed up skill development, but also to empower instructors "to provide training that results in more efficient and safer patient care that ultimately would lead to improved patient outcomes."

The training is delivered through an immersive learning platform developed by GigXR and will be accessible on Microsoft's HoloLens and iOS and Android devices. Instructors will be able to launch lessons, use one-tap QR codes for student logins and repurpose lesson plans with in-lesson notes or comments.

The training suite is scheduled for release by mid-2022.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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