Five Jump Simulation Projects Awarded UICOMP Funding

There are a number of new software, tools and devices for medical training coming out of Jump Simulation annually as part of collaborative projects between engineers and clinicians. In 2018, the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria launched the Dean’s Innovative Curriculum Awards as a way to research whether these ventures could be applied in the classroom and if they are more effective for teaching.

These awards fund professors using technology or ideas that have originated at Jump to enhance medical education. Three Jump projects were funded last year. Two of those were awarded additional funding this year and three new proposals are receiving grants for the first time for further research by UICOMP faculty.

Newly Approved Projects

Leveraging Augmented Reality for Medical Education and Training

As highlighted in this blog, there is an ongoing need to ensure all OSF HealthCare hospitals understand how to use pediatric code carts which help clinicians quickly determine the height and weight of a child based on their length, and choose the correct dosage of medication and resuscitation equipment for a patient of that size. This is especially true for low-volume facilities where clinicians may not handle many pediatric emergency cases.

Jump Medical Visualization team recently developed a Pediatric Code Cart app, a three-dimensional, interactive platform that allows learners to easily learn about the contents of a pediatric code cart, how it works and how to use it in the event of a pediatric emergency. The app gives clinicians the ability to practice using a pediatric code cart in any environment of their choosing—all at their own pace.

About 200 nurses within OSF HealthCare have tested the app and offered feedback for further development. Dr. Trina Croland, a pediatric hospitalist for OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois and associate professor of clinical pediatrics at UICOMP, received a Dean’s Award to demonstrate the appeal and usability of the app with medical students and residents using pre and post surveys. Dr. Croland will also measure how the training method impacts learners by timing how fast they can recall pediatric code cart contents in various exercises.

Application of Virtual Reality for Mass Casualty Exercises

The Advanced Imaging and Modeling team at Jump, led by Dr. Matthew Bramlet, a pediatric cardiologist at OSF Children’s Hospital, created a new software in 2018 that allows clinical educators to build lectures in virtual reality, using nothing more than 3D models, video clips and diagrams. A newly developed module allows learners to practice triaging patients in mass casualty situations, circumventing the need to stage large-scale simulated events requiring a large number of actors.

Opportunities for medical students to participate in the assessment of a critically ill patient, recognition of life-threatening disease, communication of patient status and initiation of life-saving interventions are rare during undergraduate medical training. There also are no opportunities to evaluate the expected behaviors of students who may be faced with these types of critical situations in the future.

Dr. Teresa Riech, medical director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at OSF Children’s Hospital and clinical assistant professor at UICOMP, was awarded a Dean’s Award to study the usability of the VR software on students.

Dr. Riech will measure whether learners can recognize normal and abnormal vital signs as they relate to a patient, the severity of a patient’s illness and indications for escalating care. Students will also be tested on whether they can initiate and participate in a code response, applying basic and advanced life support following use of the platform.

Use of Spasticity and Strength Simulators to Improve Neurologic Exam Skills

Learning to screen patients for possible neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Parkinson’s disease is tough for medical students and residents as they most likely don’t encounter many individuals with these illnesses as part of their training. As a result, many new physicians don’t have the experience to determine when a patient might have mild weakness or spasticity—two indicators of abnormal neurologic function.

Dr. Chris Zallek, a neurologist at OSF HealthCare Neurological Institute, developed two simulators designed to help health care providers-in-training learn to identify muscle weakness and stiffness which are characteristics of ALS and other neurological diseases sooner. A third device helps clinicians practice detecting the type of muscle stiffness a patient has, leading to quicker treatment of those with Parkinson’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis and those who’ve suffered a stroke.

Dr. Zallek, who is also a clinical assistant professor of neurology at UICOMP, has received a Dean’s Award to study the value of the simulators for enhancing medical training by measuring how well students learn to detect subtle weakness and spasticity.

Projects Awarded Additional Funds

Transforming Medical Education

Last year, 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 Dr. Bramlet’s VR medical education software in the classroom and whether it’s better than traditional medical education on anatomy.

Dr. Dominguese’s initial research evaluated how the curriculum was perceived by students and faculty, and studied the challenges novice users had with the technology and ways this could be corrected. His second year of funding continues this work with additional effectiveness studies of VR as an educational tool to teach anatomy.

Reducing the Cost of Health Care

The U.S. health care system spent about $2.9 trillion on health care in 2013 with billions of those dollars reportedly coming 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.

Last year, the Jump Research team, headed by Dr. William Bond, as well as professors from UICOMP received a Dean’s Award to study 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 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.

Pilot testing with first-year residents suggests the platform may help students feel more confident in high value care decision making. The second round of funding will support continued enrollment of medical students as well as virtual platform improvements and case refinements.

A link to ARCHES

Many of these projects were made possible by the Jump Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation (ARCHES) program. Jump ARCHES is a $62.5 million dollar endowment that supports projects between OSF HealthCare clinicians and engineers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who are developing technologies and devices that could revolutionize medical training and health care delivery.

Since its inception, Jump ARCHES has funded nearly 25 projects, some of which have gone on to receive national funding from the National Science Foundation and the Carver Charitable Trust. Some have also been funded by donors, including Ed and Ann Rapp and William Shepard. Requests for proposals take place in the spring and fall and can be found on the Jump website.