Research Platform for Medical Education Informatics

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Research Tools and Instruments
  • Year: 2016/17
  • Total Funding: $149,992
Principle Investigator(s)

No partner organizations found.

Project Summary

The equipment will support research in medical education informatics. We are witnessing revolutionary changes in medical education, where much progress has been driven by harnessing the power of modern informatics. Traditionally, medical trainees practice on real patients under the supervision of senior physicians. In addition, to exposing patients to risk by potential errors, in the era of skill-intensive medicine this model is no longer viable. Computer-assisted simulated environments have been proven, through medical education research, to be superior for training in the early stages of practice. Most current medical simulators are overly simplistic, merely replacing the patient with a mannequin. With the equipment requested, we will conduct ground-breaking research into novel medical simulation methods and systems empowered by informatics. We envision that in these simulator systems physical reality is blended with digital, virtual or holographic experiences. Arrays of miniature and non-contact sensors and instruments acquire a rich flow of digital data allowing us to compute objective, accurate and consistent metrics of skills, performance, and competence, and also to provide immediate quantitative feedback to the learner. Then, during first patient encounters, trainee performance is measured using similar instrumentation without interfering with patient care. We will develop approaches for authenticated management of trainee data, grades and certificates. We will investigate novel analytics and machine learning methods to allow to reveal the minutia of trainee skills and competence from digital sensory information collected during simulation training and patient encounters. Previously at Queen's, we have developed the Perk Tutor open source software platform that offers exceptional speed and versatility in prototyping experimental computer-assisted medical education approaches. We have extensively published our results using Perk Tutor in surgery, anesthesiology, urology, oncology, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, cardiology and internal medicine. The portfolio of our cross-disciplinary collaborations enabled by Perk Tutor is constantly growing, attesting to the increasing need for and interest in medical education informatics. Having demonstrated the prowess of Perk Tutor as a system integration platform, we request tools and instruments to support activities to engage an extended group of NSERC-funded researchers, who will investigate a wide spectrum computing and engineering problems that are key to furthering medical education research. The fully instrumented Perk Tutor research platform holds strong potential to significantly improve contemporary medical education practices in a range of specialties in which the applicants are internationally acknowledged experts as translational clinical engineering scientists.