March 11, 2013

Med Ed 3D (3)

In the last post, I asserted that much of the growth and potential for 3D in education will find a promising foothold in medical fields. In this last post, our example reaches into the arena of patient education.

Patient Education
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an increasingly global health problem, one which leaves a lot of patient suffering and costs for care in its wake. Enter Sensavis CEO, Magnus Arfors, with an aggressive project employing stereoscopic 3D visualization for patient education.  Together with support from the Karolinska University hospital in Stockholm and the Swedish public patient insurance organization, this project may grow into a real game changer. 
Graphics from the Sensavis storyboard. Their actual graphics are insanely realistic.
“The overall goal of our effort,” explains Arfors, “is to educate and motivate patients to take action in the right direction in order to radically decrease suffering and to save money in the health care system.” Assembling a team of Sensavis visualization architects, specialists in lung medicine/physiology, and specialists in patient education, Arfors is deploying a unique software solution that imitates physiology, both in healthy lungs and in lungs with COPD (e.g. TLC, FRC, IC, VC, alveolar pressure, resistance etc.). Using this stereo 3D simulation, physiological parameters can be changed in real time and the consequences can be explored. With stereo 3D, the user experience becomes much richer than is the case with 2D visual representation. 

The project will launch with sophisticated content that is presented in large groups, using a 3D projector. However, their goal is to move well beyond the traditional scenario we have seen with audience-style patient education. Arfors plans to enable patients to interact with simpler content themselves, via iPads or tablets—or by making the content available on the Internet. This self-study approach represents an interesting supplement to traditional 3D audience-delivery education.

Evaluation will be a vital part of this project. Sensavis and their university partners will use a control group methodology to study improvements in learning. They also aim to analyze the bottom-line—the return on investment in terms of health improvements and cost savings. Part of the follow up study will measure the effectiveness of simpler simulations delivered to patients in the self-study format described above.

Although some of the collaborators are established, and others (including pharma companies) are in ongoing discussion, Sensavis is seeking (more) partners for the financing of the content production and the study. They are also looking for technical equipment partners (such as screens, projectors, computers and tablets). If your organization is interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact Maggie Warbrick at

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