Check out this new Touch-Surgery mobile simulator app which allows you to learn and improve surgical skills. You can learn and test yourself on an "unsupervised" surgery and compare and analyze your results.
“Touch Surgery provides Cognitive Task Simulation (CTS) - teaching key operative decision making in a way that has been never done before. This allows you to learn, practice and rehearse a surgical procedure wherever you are, and whenever you need to.”
Touch Surgery was created by four surgeons who felt that surgical trainees are not being given the best education provided the technology that is widely available today.
The creators hope that such an app will not only improve the overall training experience but will allow future surgeons to be better prepared and educated.
The use of technology in the classroom is increasing more and more every day. This article shows evidence that transitioning with the technology era may result in better test scores and possibly better physicians. Many medical schools supply students with iPads to have easy access to electronic textbooks and lecture podcasts. The University of California provided their medical students class of 2014 an iPad to do just that. A report from the university showed that the first class to receive an iPad scored an average of 23% higher on national exams than the previous classes that were not provided an iPad. The average incoming MCAT and GPA of the students were similar.
Students from the University of California use their technology access to do a lot of great things such as create useful health apps. Using technology in medical school gives students more opportunities to be innovative and gain essential knowledge in their fields using technology.
An online video game developed by Bossa programmers allows players to be the surgeon and perform a heart transplant using surgical tools and seeing pixelated blood (this game isn’t for the squeamish) by controlling hand movements through their keyboard and mouse.
The Bossa programmers got positive reviews and are not thinking of developing a full version of Surgeon Simulator in the upcoming years. The new version will include brain surgery and dentistry.
Heart transplants through video games could potentially be a great way to teach students prior to real patient encounters.
Happtique, the mobile health application store and app manager for health care providers, has created a system called mRx. This pilot program (which was slated to end in December) gave authorized providers a way to electronically prescribe health-related apps to their patients. The hope (and belief, for some) is that the use of medical or fitness-focused apps will improve communication between patients and providers, increase patient engagement in their own health care choices and plans, and strengthen adherence to such plans through the use of mobile technology and well-designed apps that are fun and educational.
The pilot focused on the specialties of cardiology, rheumatology, endocrinology, orthopedics, physical therapy and fitness training; and utilized the expertise of practitioners in those areas to come up with a list of approved apps. However, providers in the pilot could prescribe any app of their choosing.
I look forward to reading about the results of the pilot, and feedback from providers who utilized the system. There are loads of apps out in the market for everything imaginable, and having a way to sort out the bad from the good from the best will be invaluable for patients. I foresee this as a great resource not just for patients, but for providers as well - a place everyone can go to learn about new apps and widgets, leave or read feedback from users, and try out apps to determine the best one for individual needs.
We had our advisory committee meeting this week, which resulted in nearly two full days of excellent discussions. One of the discussions revolved around the use of games in health care - what is already being done, and what else could we envision being done in the future?
It was agreed that games and play are an innate part of human nature, and that there are many people (more every day, if you look generationally) who understand, value and deeply enjoy games in their lives. With the rise of gamification in many realms (business, education, personal improvement, social impact) and the need for new ways to both engage patients and give them feedback and instruction on their care and choices, it seems obvious that innovating new health-related games for both patients and providers is an important future focus.
I have blogged before about health-related gamified sites; but was really excited and inspired during our committee's conversation, and ended up recording many more ideas that came up in the discussion. They include:
- simulations for providers (surgery or other procedures, communicating with patients or team members, etc.)
- simulations for patients (shared decision-making, simulations of difficult procedures or treatments, compliance with care regimens, etc.)
- compliance with hand-washing protocols in hospitals and other sites of care
- milestones and competency-based progression schemes in medical education and training
- improving skills in systems-based practice, team-based care and learning, and other hospital/institution issues
- improving skills in giving and receiving feedback, and rating/assessing learners or team members
Obviously if work is to be done in any of these areas, it will have to be done very carefully and thoughtfully. But it was enlightening and informative to be able to get reactions from educators and practitioners about the potential future for this innovative new domain.
Here is a look at a typical doctor’s appointment in the year 2020 where technology will be a beacon of innovation that will help address financial, reimbursement, and coverage concerns.
GNS Healthcare, INC is collaborating with the CHDI Foundation to create a data-driven computer model for Huntington’s disease aiming to help researchers discover innovative therapies for the disease.
“GNS will apply its big data analytics platform to create a disease-specific computer model that will yield a powerful new resource to the Huntington’s disease research community–with the ultimate aim of better outcomes for patients,” said GNS Executive Vice President and Co-Founder Dr. Iya Khalil.
This collaboration is representative of the focus on using big data analytics to reveal new insights into Huntington’s disease and provide tools for scientists that will help transform the information coming from new technologies into predictive computer models of disease progression and drug response.
Atul Gawande has written another very interesting article, partly about The Cheesecake Factory, and partly about how the model of that kind of enterprise (focused on efficiency, standardization, continually-improving and scaling best practices, and consistent quality) should be the model for healthcare delivery in the US. As always, the piece is engaging, well-researched and spins a wonderful story that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions and opinions.
Gawande accepts the fact that Americans will have differing ideas about whether "Big Med" is an optimal plan moving forward: some will be excited by the opportunity and innovation, others will be scared of the required oversight and investment. But one thing we can all agree on is that the current system is in no way optimal, and maybe it is time to look to highly successful scaled business models to see what it is they're doing right.