Three Jump Simulation Projects Awarded UICOMP Funding

As part of its collaboration with Jump Simulation, the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria is offering the Dean’s Innovative Curriculum Awards which fund professors using technology or ideas that have originated at the Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center to enhance medical education.

The program grew out of a need to research whether new software, tools and devices meant for medical training could be applied in the classroom and whether they are more effective for teaching. Three projects at Jump were awarded funding for further research by UICOMP professors.

Transforming Medical Education

The Advanced Imaging and Modeling team at Jump, led by Dr. Matthew Bramlet, pediatric cardiologist at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois, has created a new software that has the potential to transform medical education. The software, also funded through a Jump ARCHES (Jump Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation) grant, is a platform that allows clinical educators to build lectures in virtual reality, using nothing more than 3D anatomic models, video clips and diagrams.

Dr. David Dominguese, a Research Assistant Professor of Anatomy at UICOMP, received a Dean’s Innovative Curriculum award to conduct studies on the usability of the software in the classroom and whether it’s better than traditional medical education. About 200 individual experiences have been created in VR so far.

Preliminary studies have shown the software reduces the time it takes to create an anatomy lecture by at least 75% on average. Medical students say the VR program allows for distraction-free education, it replicates a one-on-one learning experience and they’ve touted the value of interacting with 3D objects in the lecture.

Dr. Bramlet and the AIM team continue to work on using the software for technical clinical training within OSF HealthCare, clinician to clinician communication and physician to patient education.

Reducing the Cost of Health Care

The U.S. health care system spent about $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013 but experienced poorer outcomes than similar countries that spend less. Billions of those dollars reportedly come from unnecessary medical tests. As a result, the American College of Physicians, the American Board of Internal Medicine and others have made recommendations for evidence-based testing strategies in hopes of reducing inappropriate testing.

The Jump Simulation Research team, headed by Dr. William Bond, as well as professors from UICOMP are studying whether virtual patients can be used in high value care simulations to help medical students understand when they should and should not order testing in certain situations. The team is using the USC Standard Patient© platform developed by the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies.

Medical students interact with the patient avatars in a virtual space and have the ability to ask pertinent questions, guiding the learners to make appropriate decisions on testing. The students also get the chance to interact with Jump-trained Standardized Participant actors. It’s the goal of this project to investigate whether the virtual patients add value to the existing curriculum.

The research team believes the virtual patient encounter could be a cost-effective tool to provide both learning opportunities and assessment data that are unique from those offered by the standardized patient encounter, and it hypothesizes that exposure to the virtual patients will improve performance and learning outcomes.

Gaining a Better Understanding of the Heart and Lungs 

A team that includes Scott Barrows, director of Medical Visualization at Jump, and faculty from UICOMP and UIUC are developing virtual reality software, based on a virtual physiology engine that could allow medical students to get an in-depth understanding of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

The module will consist of 3D anatomic models, animations and illustrations, helping learners understand the underlying mechanisms, physics and chemistry in the proper functioning of the two systems. It will also be possible to modify the software to show students what happens when these anatomic areas are in distress. It’s the hope of this research team to expand the technology to build curriculum for other organ systems.

Importance of Dean’s Innovative Curriculum Award

There’s a lot of great projects coming out of Jump to improve the education of medical students, but these projects need the funding to take them to the next level of testing and determining whether they can be applied in the classroom. Piloting these newly developed technologies and devices is also beneficial for the UICOMP.  

“As we look at our research and our potential to grow, one of the things that is our strength is education,” said Dr. Sara Rusch, Regional Dean of UICOMP. “The ability to use new (educational) tools and technologies helps grow the educational enterprise, builds our reputation as an excellent site to go to medical school or residency and therefore helps attract physicians. We also hope it better trains physicians who are going to stay here and practice medical care in our community.”

Rusch says proving the effectiveness of different technologies created here in Peoria could help move those ideas into startup companies which could grow the health care economy and the economy of the city.
Categories: 3D Heart, Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM), Augmented Reality (AR), Curriculum, Innovation, Jump ARCHES, Medical Students, Medical Visualization, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP), Virtual Reality (VR)