Immersion joins with PICC Excellence to promote training products and launches new Phlebotomy training module for CathSim AccuTouch System

San Jose 18 January 2006Immersion Medical Inc. will join forces with PICC Excellence Inc., Orange Park, Florida to promote training products for the peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) procedure. In addition Immersion Medical has introduced a new version of the Phlebotomy module for its CathSim AccuTouch vascular access simulator. The CathSim AccuTouch system is a realistic, computer-based simulator for helping users acquire, develop, maintain, and assess the motor skills and cognitive knowledge needed to perform intravenous access procedures. A cutting-edge training tool, the system has been integral to training programmes in universities, colleges, nursing schools, EMT programmes, and hospitals. Over 750 systems have been sold since 1998.

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Along with its line of self-paced training products, PICC Excellence will promote the use of Immersion Medical's CathSim AccuTouch vascular access simulator for hands-on training. Immersion Medical will include information on PICC Excellence materials in its promotions. These complementary products help medical professionals develop their skills before attending to real patients.

Peripherally inserted central catheters are used to provide prolonged intravenous access (IV) for dispensing total parenteral nutrition to neonates, and antibiotics and chemotherapy to children and adults. Over 80 percent of hospital patients receive IV therapy, with over 200 million peripheral IV catheter insertions and over 1 million PICCs administered annually in the United States alone. Inappropriate insertion or management of a PICC can result in complications that often prolong hospital stays, increase patient discomfort, and impact treatment.

PICC Excellence offers video-based and instructor-led training programmes. Immersion Medical's PICC module for the CathSim system provides both cognitive and motor skills training, supported by simulation of four patient types, with common complications and progressively difficult anatomy. The simulator integrates visuals with audio responses of the virtual patients. It supplies real-time views of the underlying anatomy and needle angle, and mimics the feel of needle and catheter as they are inserted into the skin and vein lumen, allowing trainees to refine their technique. Evaluation metrics provide objective assessment of performance.

"The CathSim system's PICC module provides health care professionals with valuable information and feedback consistent with a hands-on practicum, guiding the learner through the process of insertion with the goal of increasing successful outcomes", stated Nancy Moureau, BSN, CRNI, and president of PICC Excellence Inc. "Combining our Basic PICC training course with the CathSim PICC module provides a comprehensive approach to PICC learning not available through any other source. It provides a powerful learning experience for the nurse, radiology technician, physician assistant, medical doctor, or other medical professional."

"We know that PICC is an important and often complicated procedure requiring specific training", stated Kevin Kunkler, MD, vice president, and medical officer for Immersion Medical. "We also know that practising the procedure on a virtual patient without worrying about a real patient's well-being, the cost of supplies, or inadvertent complications, makes the PICC learning process much easier. The CathSim system's PICC module facilitates clinician training in appropriate PICC management through repeated practice that is safe and realistic."

"This is a wonderful opportunity for nursing education programmes and trainers", stated Kim Alfonso, vice president of marketing at Immersion Medical. "Two quality-focused, reputable, and trusted organisations have come together to offer a comprehensive array of training tools and resources to the nursing community."

PICC Excellence Inc. was founded by Nancy Moureau, an internationally recognized speaker on PICC and intravenous practice. The company specializes in PICC, midline, and intravenous training programmes. The company developed the first PICC training programme via self study in 1999, the Ultrasound and Modified Seldinger Training Video Programmes in 2003, and Basic Modified Seldinger Training in 2005. PICC Excellence provides education at the basic, advanced, and instructor levels and acts as a resource to all PICC inserters. Ms. Moureau conducts research and actively consults with manufacturers, distributors, home health companies, infusion services, and hospitals on PICC lines and other issues dealing with vascular access devices.

The new Phlebotomy module adds safety needles and an updated collection tube draw order. These advancements align CathSim procedures with standards recommended by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI, formerly NCCLS) and contribute to the system's realistic training environment. This environment includes patented force feedback technology that simulates the feel of vascular access procedures, including the "pop" of venipuncture. The force feedback is closely integrated with the visual and audio responses of virtual patients.

CLSI standards are designed to minimize phlebotomy mistakes and patient injuries, which can include contaminated samples that have to be redrawn, false positives due to contamination, fractures, nerve damage, and incorrect medications or doses, which can have life-threatening consequences.

"The CathSim system is important in teaching the proper procedure and perfecting the practice of venipuncture", stated Professor Jesse Guiles of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey, who teaches semester-long classes in Phlebotomy. "The CathSim system reinforces the use of appropriate procedural techniques. In addition, it gives us a starting point for talking to students about patient interaction, which is a vitally important part of the course."

The Phlebotomy module has six patient-based scenarios that provide progressively difficult anatomy to help students increase their skills before beginning clinical practice. The simulated patients present various problems and also audibly respond to pain. In addition, virtual aides, such as real-time views that show underlying anatomy and needle angle, enhance the learning process, while evaluation metrics help in the objective assessment of users.

"It brings the cases to life", stated Professor Guiles. "Some of the patient types in the scenarios have rolling or small veins, and students can perforate the vein or cause bruising if they're not careful. Some of our students actually get scared that they're going to hurt the patient, but they love the system because it's safe, and they can build their confidence without risk to patients."

Today, eleven states and Puerto Rico mandate phlebotomy certification that requires a CLSI standards-based course including 100 hours of clinical practice and 100 successful blood collections. The CathSim system can supplement certification programmes by offering an objective evaluation tool.

The CathSim AccuTouch system promotes patient safety by helping to increase trainees' competence, confidence, and experience base. "The system gives trainees a better patient base, a larger patient population, as it exposes them to adult, paediatric, and geriatric patients, and they're able to practise over and over again", stated Lisa Fisher, research and training co-ordinator, Department of Surgery, Indiana University Medical Center.

Immersion Medical Inc., an expert in medical and surgical simulation and a division of Immersion Corporation, develops, manufactures, and markets computer-based medical training simulation systems worldwide. Immersion Medical's patented technology integrates proprietary computer software and tactile feedback robotics to create highly realistic medical procedure simulations that help train clinicians. The company's five key product lines are the Endovascular AccuTouch System, CathSim AccuTouch System, Endoscopy AccuTouch System, Laparoscopy AccuTouch System, and Hysteroscopy AccuTouch System.

Founded in 1993, Immersion Corporation is specialized in developing, licensing, and marketing digital touch technology and products. Bringing value to markets where man-machine interaction needs to be made more compelling, safer, or productive, Immersion helps its partners broaden market reach by making the use of touch feedback as critical a user experience as sight and sound. Immersion's technology is deployed across automotive, entertainment, medical training, mobility, personal computing, and three-dimensional simulation markets. Immersion's patent portfolio includes over 500 issued or pending patents in the United States and other countries. More news on Immersion can be found in the VMW November 2005 article Immersion Medical releases new modules for Endovascular AccuTouch System.


Leslie Versweyveld

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