Newest Immersion simulation module helps nurses train procedures for administering intravenous medication

San Jose 15 May 2001Immersion Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corp. has released a new computer-based simulation for performing Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICCs). The PICC simulation mimics the look and "feel" of this common procedure, that is used to administer long term intravenous (IV) therapy. Approximately 600.000 PICC procedures are performed annually on patients requiring chemotherapy, antibiotics, and a wide variety of other medications. PICC constitutes the sixth IV simulation module designed by Immersion Medical to help clinicians acquire, maintain, and measure necessary skills without risking patients' safety.

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"The public focus on medical errors and nursing shortages has put enormous pressure on clinical training programmes", stated Greg Merril, founder of Immersion Medical. "Hospitals and schools are requesting tools which can reduce errors and costs the way flight simulators reduced them in the airline industry."

Immersion Medical added the PICC module to its line of simulations because of the unique and time-consuming training required to successfully perform the procedure. Clinicians must learn to accurately guide a PICC through a vein in the arm to a position just outside the heart while simultaneously avoiding complications such as bleeding, infection, malpositioning, and embolisms. With a correctly placed PICC, a patient can receive medication for months at a time, avoiding multiple and painful IV insertions. However, malpositioned PICCs force patients to undergo additional insertions and increase medical costs.

The PICC module runs on the award-winning CathSim Vascular Access Simulator, the first computer simulator designed specifically for the nursing and allied health professions. The system, which consists of a PC, monitor, compact interface device, and proxy medical tools, allows users to see and feel the instruments and anatomy they would encounter in real life.

During the PICC simulation, users first select a computer-generated patient and review the patient's case history. After checking on-screen physician's orders, users begin to insert the PICC. The patient's arm appears on the computer monitor along with images of the medical tools required for PICC insertion. Users then guide physical PICC tools into the interface device, which mimics the subtle forces of tissue resistance, venipuncture, catheter insertion, and syringe operation. PICC placement is verified via a simulated x-ray. After the simulation, the system generates a detailed performance evaluation for review by users and supervisors.

Other CathSim modules simulate adult, paediatric, and geriatric intravenous procedures, phlebotomy or blood drawing, and skills assessment. Immersion Medical equally produces simulations for a variety of endoscopic as well as endo-vascular procedures. Approximately 500 Immersion Medical simulators are used in hospitals, universities, and medical schools across the world.

Immersion Medical, formerly HT Medical Systems Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corporation based in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The company designs, manufactures, and markets computer-based medical simulation systems worldwide. The systems integrate proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics with new economical, high-powered computers to create highly realistic simulations. The company's three key product lines are the CathSim Vascular Access Simulator, the AccuTouch Endoscopy Simulator, and the AccuTouch Endovascular Simulator. Read more on Immersion Medical in the VMW May 2001 article Fourth Immersion Medical simulation module duplicates look and feel of sophisticated biopsy procedure.


Leslie Versweyveld

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