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Hi-tech anatomy lab takes medical training to new dimension

Hi-tech anatomy lab takes medical training to new dimension

[San Francisco, US/ Medicine] - Students at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have begun studying in a new, state-of-the-art anatomy learning centre equipped with interactive electronic textbooks, giant video displays and roving cameras that will allow them to learn in a new way the complex structure of the human body.

The 6,000-square-foot space at the UCSF Parnassus campus will enable some 150 medical, physical therapy and pharmacy students, working with up to 30 cadavers, the opportunity to learn anatomy through dissection, aided by expert faculty and practising physicians demonstrating clinical procedures.

Students will move from dissecting embalmed cadavers, to practising medical and surgical procedures in fresh tissue — including laparoscopy — to interpreting ultrasound imaging and physical examination findings on standardised patient ′actors′ and each other.

With the aid of six 72-inch, high-definition video monitors lining the walls and wirelessly connected to mobile cameras and tablet PCs via 25 wireless routers, students are able to interact with the learning material and observe fellow classmates′ discoveries without leaving their workstation. Tablet PCs are loaded with interactive textbooks, detailed graphics, quizzes and videos to assist learning.

Teleconferencing in the Anatomy Learning Center allows them to connect to a number of remote sites such as operating rooms, clinics, classrooms and the UCSF Kanbar Simulation Center to watch procedures and learn technique. For example, medical students learning about the human brain in the dissection lab will be able to watch live surgeries with world-renowned neurosurgeons. The students will then be able to work inter-professionally, side by side with nurses and anesthesiologists to prepare their cadaver ′patient′ for the same surgical approach.

Dynamic learning experience

“Few other first-year medical students in the world will learn anatomy in such an interactive and clinically relevant way, said Kimberly Topp, PhD, PT, chair of the UCSF Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and professor of anatomy. “The teaching elements offered in the new centre aren′t all unique to UCSF. Many medical schools around the country have cameras, tablet devices and video displays. But UCSF may be the only one that blends all of these elements to create a dynamic, comprehensive teaching space.

“The Anatomy Learning Center will allow students to become experts before they ever reach the clinic. Students will be able to learn the anatomy relevant to procedures in several different simulated environments. At the end of the day, it′s really about delivering safe, high-quality care to the patient.”

“The UCSF Anatomy Learning Center brings together the best teaching methods and technologies under one roof,” said Jeffrey Laitman, PhD, president of the American Association of Anatomists. “While the structure of the human body hasn′t changed much over time, technology has, and UCSF is using these new tools to teach students in what I consider is the anatomy lab of the future.” [hw]

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