It is no secret that low wages have a negative effect on organizational culture. Low pay puts EMTs in a position to work overtime or even secondary jobs often resulting in burnout and sleep deprivation. No one operates at full capacity when they are fatigued and in the medical industry mistakes are a matter of life and death.
Training ultrasound technicians to properly scan patients using traditional machines can be a slow process. The medical imaging modality produces low-quality images and requires users to be very knowledgeable of human anatomy as well as physics.
Add to that the expense of owning and operating an ultrasound machine and ultrasound training can easily become difficult and inaccessible. First introduced in the 1950s, the ultrasound machine is an essential diagnostic tool for many clinicians. However, these machines don’t come cheap—an ultrasound machine costs several thousands to tens of thousands of dollars—and as a result, one scan can set you back around $250.
Ultrasound Training is Important
Training technicians to properly use an ultrasound machine is critical in properly diagnosing patients as inaccuracies and interpretation errors still happen. One study estimates that 3–5% of cognitive and perceptual errors occur daily across different modalities, including ultrasound. In a separate study published in SAGE Journals, researchers found that “the most common sources of [ultrasound] inaccuracy [in estimating fetal weight] identified were operator dependent, highlighting the importance of regular training and audit, fundamental to professional development and maintaining competency.”
While it might be impossible to completely resolve these operator-dependent interpretation errors and inaccuracies, there is a way to reduce their occurrences. Enter augmented reality (AR).
Augmented reality allows us to see the world, i.e., the real-life environment, overlaid or superimposed with digital information, including sounds, images and text. From games to navigation systems to military use, AR has proven useful in everyday life. AR has also been beneficial in medicine and healthcare, such as providing assistance during surgeries, aiding people with disabilities, helping people finding veins for IV’s and more.
Using Augmented Reality in Training Ultrasound Technicians
In the field of ultrasound imaging, augmented reality will revolutionize ultrasound technology by providing medical professionals with in-depth visualization during physical exams, assessments and other procedures.
But even while still learning and training, up-and-coming medical professionals, especially ultrasound technicians, will be able to improve their skills. AR will allow them to examine 3D anatomy, which will make the learning process easier. And by practicing scanning holographic organs, they will be able to observe in real-time and understand how ultrasound beams work to generate an ultrasound image.
In a study published in the 2015 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium (IUS), Cameron Palmer et al. provided students with a tablet-based AR system for visualizing a patient’s heart. They found that the system “gives the student quick insight into which anatomical structures they are viewing even if their ability to interpret diagnostic images is not yet fully formed. … [and] can help the student more quickly acquire the correct transducer position.”
AR Advances Ultrasound Training
Ultrasound imaging continues to be a valuable diagnostic tool. But as it is a highly operator-dependent modality, ultrasound technicians need to be able to acquire the knowledge necessary to operate the device and learn how to use it effectively during their training period, which can easily take up to 12 months. The use of augmented reality can help ultrasound technicians significantly improve their skills at a lower cost.
Five Ways AR is Transforming Our Healthcare
Augmented reality is leading to innovations that are reinventing the way we approach problems in healthcare. What was once a dream in the medical industry is now taking shape into reality.
While AR is impacting healthcare in many ways, in this article, we focus on five ways augmented reality is helping healthcare professionals and patients:
Needles and Things: How AR is being used to deliver faster, better, more cost effective IV placement
Doctor + Patient + Screen Time = Ugh! Use of AR in shifting the focus back to the human experience
Augmented Daily Living (ADL): How AR is aiding those with disabilities navigate the challenges of daily life just a bit better
X-ray Vision? Augmented surgery
Augmented POCUS: Looking at what happens when AR and point-of-care ultrasound meet
While augmented reality assisted surgeries aren’t common yet, there is no doubt that AR and wearable technology will have a heavy presence in the hospitals of the future. Companies like MedCognition are already working to make AR equipment a reality. Their technology will train the next generation of medical professionals and help make safer surgeries and improved patient care a reality. Everyone from relationship coaches to therapist are using augment reality technology.
Augmented Reality in the healthcare industry is groundbreaking. Right now technological advancements like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) are key factors driving the current business growth in healthcare. With the help of these key factors, especially AR, healthcare professionals are now able to perform medical procedures with more precision and accuracy. How might you ask?
If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you might be aware of today’s technological advancement in various aspects of everyday life. Entertainment, sports, news, business, you name it. But most importantly, it is having a huge impact on various fields of expertise, and one of them is medical training. With high-end technology taking over the generation and changing the course of history, it’s safe to say that we are headed towards a brighter future. One high-end technology in particular that has been helping the medical field is Augmented Reality (AR).
Nobody in healthcare shows up to do a mediocre job. You go to work in healthcare because you want to do a good job. You want to serve people. You want to do the best job possible, but the landscape in modern day healthcare is fertile with influences that fray on your ability to consistently make high quality decisions.
Our mission is driven by a heart of service to educators, trainees and patients.
On the journey we have spoken to many EMS educators, EMTs, firefighters and paramedics. The dedication to the craft and preparation blows us away every time.
Thank you very much for the recognition, but frankly we are honored to serve the EMS community in this small way through our work with PerSim(TM).
Healthcare could benefit from more eyes trained specifically at looking for red flags. Conditions that may trigger high alerts and require mobilization of critical resources. Developing apprentices of patient safety moves beyond just creation of rapid response teams. It requires a dedication of those on the frontlines of healthcare to evergreen training and learning. This sort of training may require innovative modalities of rapidly deploying experience and knowledge to those on the frontlines. It may require physicians think a bit differently about the traditional physician to physician apprenticeship model. It may require us to democratize medical knowledge.
In medicine we are faced with nearly 13,000 diagnoses, over 6,000 medications and over 4,000 procedures. The variety of clinical venues and numerous individual patient contexts creates tremendous complexity. Context is king in making the correct assessment. Misreading or missing one detail can change everything in the evaluation and treatment of a patient.