Study proves medical simulators reduce number of patient-based procedures required to learn endoscopy skills

San Jose 02 December 2002As part of an ongoing study at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center, residents who practised sigmoidoscopies on Immersion Medical's simulators demonstrated a statistically significant 75 percent increase in overall competency scores. This study validates the use of Immersion Medical's AccuTouch Endoscopy Simulator with Flexible Sigmoidoscopy module in reducing the number of patient-based procedures required to achieve competency in performing flexible sigmoidoscopy. A gastro-enterologist objectively scored the residents, monitoring factors such as intubation, retroflexion, pathology, and virtual patient discomfort.


"This study validates the use of medical simulators for training doctors in conducting minimally invasive surgeries", stated Dr. Michael Brown of Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center. "Immersion Medical's simulators are a more effective way of training than the traditional methods, allowing residents to repeat difficult procedures until they feel comfortable. Reducing the number of procedure-related errors during the learning process translates into safer patient care. This technology will have profound effects in improving health care education at all levels. Furthermore, this study signifies a big step towards simulation certification."

Endoscopy and minimally invasive surgery (MIS) now account for more than 25 percent of all surgeries in developed countries, according to Millenium Research Group. The study results provide a subjective way to quantify simulation benefits. In the future, medical schools may require simulation certification as a mandatory part of the medical residency programme.

"With the number of endoscopic procedures increasing each year, doctors are looking for better ways to train and perfect their skills", stated Richard Stacey, Vice President and General Manager of Immersion Medical. "With our simulators, residents can perform as many simulated procedures as necessary to achieve the required skill level before ever coming into contact with real patients."

In sigmoidoscopy, an endoscope illuminates the colon and then is manipulated carefully to inspect the patient's mucosa. Physicians conduct sigmoidoscopies to find the cause of ailments such as abdominal pain and early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. If a polyp or inflamed tissue is found, the physician can remove a piece of it using instruments inserted into the scope. Immersion Medical simulators help train, maintain, and measure the medical skills of doctors, giving them the proficiency to perform otherwise painful and difficult procedures.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is specialised in developing, licensing, and marketing haptic technology and products. Bringing value to markets where user/product interaction needs to be made more compelling, safer or productive, Immersion helps its partners develop and increase competitive advantage and broaden market reach by making the use of touch sense feedback as critical a user experience as sight and sound. Immersion's technology is deployed across personal computing, entertainment, medical training, automotive and three- dimensional simulation markets. Immersion and its wholly owned subsidiaries hold over 180 issued patents worldwide.

Immersion Medical, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, formerly HT Medical Systems Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corporation. 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.

More news on Immersion Medical is available in the VMW June 2002 article Gallbladder and pancreas procedures now trained and rehearsed with Immersion's new ERCP simulator module.

Leslie Versweyveld

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