Immersion's Virtual Patient software teaches medical and health science students physical exam skills

San Jose 10 July 2003Immersion Medical, a wholly owned subsidiary of Immersion Corporation, and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins introduced the first commercially available PC-based health training programme that incorporates haptics into a mouse. "Clinical Experiences: Interview, Assess, Diagnose" replicates and combines the senses of sight, sound and touch to let health care professionals and students practise conducting a physical exam with a computer and a touch-enabled mouse. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a global health publisher, is the exclusive publisher and distributor of this training tool.

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The training is important because errors in judgment during physical exams are not uncommon. In her book, "Human Error in Medicine", Marilyn Sue Bogner, Chairwoman of the Institute for the Study of Medical Error, writes that 17 percent of errors during diagnosis could have been prevented, and that 71 percent of these errors were a result of negligence.

"In all professionals, excellence is achieved through practice. Now, with this unique and innovative product, medical, nursing and health science students can improve their physical assessment skills in a risk-free environment through virtual practice, using only a desktop or laptop computer and a haptic mouse", stated Rich Wohl, Executive Vice President of Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

"In standard training, students learn from the random patients who happen to walk into the emergency room at a teaching hospital, which puts the patient at risk for medical error", stated Richard Stacey, Vice President and General Manager of Immersion. "Using virtual reality, students are exposed to a wider variety of patients and ailments and can even learn to take the pulse of a virtual patient using Immersion's advanced tactile mouse."

The highly interactive CD-ROM teaches essential physical examination skills. Upon choosing a case, the student is presented with a patient's medical history, including a chief complaint, and can ask the patient-selected questions. The student performs the physical examination and assesses the appropriate anatomy using the haptic mouse to experience touch sensations.

A virtual proctor provides feedback to the student both during and after the session. The technology in the haptic mouse lets the student "touch" images and objects displayed on a computer screen. The technology works by digitally translating computer events into realistic tactile responses that can be felt by the student's hand.

Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), part of Wolters Kluwer Health, is an international publisher of professional health information resources for physicians, nurses, specialised clinicians and students. Nearly 275 periodicals and 1500 books in more than 100 disciplines are published under the LWW brand, as well as CD ROMs, content-based sites and on-line services.

Wolters Kluwer Health is a provider of information for professionals and students in medicine, nursing, allied health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. Wolters Kluwer Health is a unit of Wolters Kluwer nv, a multinational information services company with annual sales of more than 3,9 billion euro and 20.000 employees.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is a recognised expert 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 more than 185 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.

The CD-ROM, "Clinical Experiences: Interview, Assess, Diagnose", can be purchased at Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. More news on the collaboration between Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Immersion Medical is available in the VMW February 2003 article Immersion and Lippincott create interactive physical assessment and diagnosis tool with tactile feedback.


Leslie Versweyveld

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