06.04.2021 - Healthcare, Startups

Medical education milestone: Exonicus digital trauma simulator

The digital trauma simulator of the medical education startup Exonicus allows training in a safe environment with virtual reality glasses. A study carried out by the Ministry of Defence and Riga Stradins University shows that this method is as effective as face-to-face training.

Until now, the Exonicus virtual simulator was often referred to as an experimental learning tool that offers a new way to learn in virtual reality. Given that there was no evidence of the effectiveness of such a method, teaching staff often preferred to use traditional methods, namely, dummies. A recent study shows that the learning process in the digital trauma simulator is as effective as face-to-face training.

“It’s a historic milestone. The health and education sectors are very conservative, they stick to many hundreds of years old traditions. The pandemic has contributed to digital transformation, and the results of our study show that digital learning can be just as effective,” says Sandis Kondrāts, co-founder of Exonicus.

In his opinion, there is now an opportunity to focus on the most important thing: the training of new doctors and improving the content. For example, if there is training for medical practitioners from all over Latvia, the simulator allows people to avoid wasting time on the way from Liepaja to Riga, but to connect to a simulator or simulation from home.

“The greatest challenge is to find an effective remote learning solution that provides the student with practical insights. For example, the first step is to discuss with students how to recognize and help a victim with a severe head injury. The second step is a practice in a safe environment, where the student strengthens his or her skills and gains confidence that he or she has understood the topic. Traditionally, it would mean working with a dummy, but now, during the pandemic, such options are very limited. A trauma simulator is a tool that allows to implementation of this stage remotely. The third step is real work with the patient,” explains Ardis Bērziņš, resident anesthesiologist, reanimatologist at Riga East Clinical University Hospital, and lecturer at the Department of Clinical Skills and Medical Technologies of Riga Stradins University.

Today, in Europe, we are increasingly thinking about how to spend resources efficiently, says Jānis Kondrāts, co-founder of Exonicus. For example, the pandemic proved that many face-to-face meetings are not always necessary for people from different cities or even countries and meetings can be held on a video call. This saves both money on fuel and specialists’ time spent on the road. The virtual simulator of medical training allows not to waste gloves and other things necessary for face-to-face training, and the lifetime of dummies can be prolonged. He emphasizes that the simulator is not only more environmentally friendly but also allows to play out scenarios that are extremely rare in life. For example, helping severe polytrauma patients who need excellent teamwork, conducting situational analysis, and making critical decisions in a limited time based on the available information and guidelines used.

The first product of Exonicus is an injury simulator, where help in a virtual environment is provided to one patient, Labs of Latvia wrote. Seven injury scenarios have been developed. The leader of the training can choose the different injuries students to have to deal with, such as internal bleeding, respiratory damage, amputation, head injuries, cut wounds, burns, etc. The company focuses on training emergency medical personnel.

To date, about 1,500 training sessions on a computer and 800 in a virtual reality environment have been conducted on the Exonicus injury simulation platform. One session lasts about 15 minutes. During it, the patient is provided with emergency care, stabilization measures are taken and a decision is made on further action. In many of these sessions, 40 students, together with the lecturer, have carefully analyzed the course of events, the decisions made.

Last year, the company entered into a second contract with the United States Department of Defense. This contract stipulates that the medical technology startup Exonicus will develop a mass casualty scenario for the virtual reality trauma simulator, with five victims having various injuries at the same time. The project is expected to be completed by September this year. In October, a major new validation study, the Deja Vu Study, will be launched at Madigan Army Medical Center, using the new version of the Trauma Simulator.

Source: labsoflatvia.com


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