U-M and GigXR Partner to Develop Holographic Medical Training Tools

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and eXtended reality (XR) solutions provider GigXR in Los Angeles are partnering to develop the XR Procedure Training Suite, a training application that uses hyper-realistic holographic patients and mixed reality (MR) visual cues to develop manual and practical skills in preclinical education.
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U-M and GigXR are partnering to develop holographic medical training tools. // Courtesy of GigXR
U-M and GigXR are partnering to develop holographic medical training tools. // Courtesy of GigXR

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and eXtended reality (XR) solutions provider GigXR in Los Angeles are partnering to develop the XR Procedure Training Suite, a training application that uses hyper-realistic holographic patients and mixed reality (MR) visual cues to develop manual and practical skills in preclinical education.

Built to augment task trainers as well as help students and trainees learn a specific procedure before they start practicing the tactile muscle memory, the new holographic training suite can be used with or without a manikin to help guide students through common procedures, to navigate complications and master their manual skills for real-life patient encounters.

“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,” says Dr. Mark Cohen, professor of surgery, pharmacology, and biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan Medical Center. “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.

“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 brings tremendous value that could accelerate learner readiness and preparedness for the clinic.”

Unlike manikins, which often are limited in range of simulated conditions, extremely costly for high-fidelity models, and time consuming to set up, the XR Procedure Training Suite leverages GigXR’s cutting-edge ability to create life-like MR learning scenarios that are also incredibly easy to access and deploy.

Learners using the XR Procedure Training Suite will be able to observe a wide variety of patient presentations and train in developing diagnostic skills for various pathologies, such as taking vitals, listening to the patient’s lungs, and comparing X-rays and CT scans tests, tests, and practicing ultrasound, among many more life-like features for evolving scenarios.

Instructors also can instantly introduce complications to the scenario like deteriorating vital signs, disease progression, punctured vessels, vomiting, bleeding, procedural complications, pain, and more.

“This partnership represents a giant leap forward for the global medical community — doctors, medical students, and nurses constantly strive for the highest levels of training to ensure the best patient practice and care when starting clinical hours or residencies,” says David King Lassman, CEO at GigXR. “We’re honored to be working with Dr. Cohen and his team, whose outstanding commitment to research and innovation in medicine and medical education has left a lasting legacy across all areas of medical practice. Introducing XR Procedure Training Suite to the University of Michigan’s medical students and resident trainees will only further prepare its elite future medical force.”

The XR Procedure Training Suite fully immerses students in hyper-realistic clinical scenarios that are safe-to-fail and closely mimics the experience they’d have in a real-world clinical environment. A 2021 systematic review of head-mounted virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and MR devices in medical education found that training with these devices was effective as either a primary or supplementary teaching tool in 93 percent of the 27 studies reviewed. Learners surveyed, many of whom were medical students or residents, found training with such devices to be motivating and engaging.

“Our goal and impact for creating the XR Procedure Training Suite is not just in accelerating skills development, but in empowering instructors to provide training that results in more efficient and safer patient care that ultimately would lead to improved patient outcomes,” Cohen says. “We’re thrilled to be among the first to bring this high-level of mixed reality procedural training to our learners and to the world.”

Delivered through GigXR’s Immersive Learning Platform, the XR Procedure Training Suite is designed to serve as an on-demand instructor-led training tool for students, no matter where they are located, and will be accessible on Microsoft’s HoloLens, iOS, and Android devices.

Instructors will be able to launch lessons quickly, use one-tap QR codes for student logins, and repurpose lesson plans with in-lesson notes or comments. This allows both instructors and students to optimize access to the platform and maximize the benefits of collaborative learning within the app.

GigXR and University of Michigan plan to launch the XR Procedure Training Suite by mid-2022.

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