Harvard Macy Community Blog

Fostering the ongoing connectedness of health professions educators committed to transforming health care delivery and education.

Pushing the Envelope: Ways Technology Can Extend the Limits of Possibility in Medical Education

The technology landscape has changed a great deal even since my first Harvard Macy blog post back in 2015. As computing power increases exponentially, we are seeing many of the technologies that were previously thought to be science fiction coming to fruition. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, blockchain technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D printing are now making their way into common language outside of our higher education walls. Ever increasing attention has been given to technologies like augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR), with new companies popping up every day and existing companies scrambling to expand their capabilities utilizing these technologies. In 2017 alone, venture capitalists poured over $3 billion dollars investing in AR and VR startups and the global healthcare AR/VR market is expected to hit $15 billion by 2026. Virtual and augmented reality headsets are free falling in price and rapidly hitting the consumer market with the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift falling from $800 in 2017 to $399-499 in 2018. Mobile based AR is rapidly gaining popularity as our everyday devices are now being supported by Apple’s ARkit and Google’s ARCore. Bringing these technologies to mobile devices will have huge implications in education and learning.

This post is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a snapshot and examples of what technological capabilities are out there. Regardless of the technology, the adage ‘Content is King’ strongly resonates. One must remember that the technology will never make up for poor content or pedagogy. Although there is strong buzz around these technologies, I encourage everyone to be critical and see how the technology can actually add value or capabilities to the educational content without being the educational content itself. The best way to evaluate this is to ask yourself, ‘Could this content be made meaningful without this technology?’ For example, a virtual patient in VR may be cool, but are the interactions with the patient the same that could be had with much lower technology like a laptop or mobile device? In some instances, technology can actually add unnecessary cognitive load and detract from the learning experience.

This blog will detail technological advancements in the consumer and educational realm, and how medical educators are starting to use this technology to augment and, in some instances, replace existing learning experiences.


3D Visualization

3D Visualization is represented by many names including 3D rendering, computer generated graphics, and 3D graphics. Anyone who has watched an action or superhero movie in the last 10 years knows what this looks like. Essentially artists use computers to generate images representing 3 dimensional objects. For the most part, these 3D visualizations are intended to be viewed on a 2-dimensional screen. 3D graphical art has expanded rapidly and has almost become ubiquitous. Anatomy has been the most represented in this space, forcing many educators to ask whether we need human cadavers for anatomic dissection. Many companies have forayed into the interactive human anatomy atlas space including BioDigital’s 3D Interactive Human Cadaver, Medis Media’s 3D Anatomy Organon®, GraphicViZion’s Visual Anatomy 3D Human, Visible Body® Human Anatomy Atlas. Almost all of these are available as mobile apps, with some being available in virtual reality. These are all great for visualization of human anatomy in great detail and with the ability to peel away layers of skin and muscle to see the human body in all its glory. The interactivity with these models is relatively limited to rotating and zooming. Some platforms allow for links with pop-ups that give a description of the form or function of the given anatomical part.

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#HMIchat July 2018 - What Image or Song Would You Choose?

For those of us in the United States, it was a special holiday version of #HMIchat on July 4th— a 24 hour asynchronous chat (no synchronous sessions this time)! Because July 1st marks the beginning of a new academic year here in the US, the focus was medical education goals for the 2018-2019 academic year. Personal, professional, and institutional medical education goals were all welcomed.

Despite the holiday, our @HarvardMacy community showed up to share & help! We shared goals such as: create a curriculum that is both sustainable and malleable, complete graduate training, learn about various education strategies, increase habits of self-care, and develop new research interests. Many of us struggle with how to move forward with a new goal. Fortunately, our community members shared several wonderful resources—here are just a few:

Great book for curriculum building, shared by Lonika Sood.

Great book for presenting the evidence in medical education, shared by Teresa Sörö.

How to write great multiple choice questions, shared by Teresa Sörö.

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Procedural Competency and Procedural Proficiency

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

  • Vince Lombardi

Teaching procedural skills to novice providers can be challenging. Maintaining procedural skill and advancing from competent to proficient can be even more difficult. Simple practice and the ‘See One, Do One, Teach One’ model may not be sufficient. This blog covers how to practice a more perfect procedure.

Recent Comments
Gregg Wells

Like pilots, periodic currency...

Excellent commentary! Procedural skills atrophy with disuse. Procedural certifications need renewing, similar to renewing a pilot... Read More
Tuesday, 24 July 2018 5:05 PM
Guest — Hao Song

Producural Competency/Proficie...

Mentored training using simulation is an effective way to train and evaluate pocedural skills.
Friday, 27 July 2018 2:02 PM
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Feedback PLeaSe! A #MedEdPearl from #IAMSE18

The Feedback PLeaSe model has three phases: Preparation, Listening, and Summarizing.  During the Preparation phase, the faculty facilitator announces the intention to conduct face-to-face feedback sessions, discuses effective behaviors, and provides a model to use when giving feedback. In the Listening phase, the presenters at the conference suggested using a model called the STAR model. STAR is an acronym that reminds learners that effective feedback is Specific, Timely, Actionable, and Received. Those providing feedback can use the STAR model to give one positive observation and one area for growth. The receiver is encouraged to listen while the facilitator takes notes to send at a later date. Finally, in the Summarizing phase, the receiver demonstrates active listening by giving a short verbal synthesis of key points of the observations.

During the session at the conference, the presenters shared anecdotal data from their experiences using the Feedback PLeaSe model. Additional qualitative and quantitative data is available in their article. They also led an excellent faculty development activity. During the activity, participants formed small groups and received a realistic scenario, assumed roles, and practiced conducting a face-to-face feedback session.

How do you prepare learners and faculty to provide effective feedback? Share your strategies at #MedEdPearls.

REFERENCES

Szarek JL. Medical Science Educator April Article Review http://www.iamse.org/medical-science-educator-april-article-review-from-dr-john-l-szarek/

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Seriously? A Board game?

Candy land. Monopoly. Life. Scrabble. Risk. These are the games that we played as children, but they often engaged us in a way that is the foundation for learning. Engagement, after all, is a crucial precursor to learning since it allows educators to gain a learner’s attention. Games, however, do not need to be built for fun – they can be serious too.

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