April 9, 2007
Trying to find a way for medical students to get experience
listening to heart sounds, one cardiologist(and associate
professor of medicine), thought of putting the sounds on
CD. When his students pointed out that they didn't listen
to CDs, he had to learn from them. Now the sounds are
available as MP3 files that they (and others) can download
to their iPods.
"Patients rely on their physicians to recognize signs of
trouble, yet for common heart murmurs, that ability is only
fair at best. Fortunately, the solution is simple:
listening repeatedly. In fact, intensive repetition -
listening at least 400 times to each heart sound -
significantly improved the stethoscope abilities of
doctors, according to a study presented at the American
College of Cardiology's annual meeting. After demonstrating
last year that medical students greatly improved their
stethoscope skills by listening repeatedly to heart sounds
on their iPods, lead investigator Michael Barrett, M.D.,
clinical associate professor of medicine and cardiologist
at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, set
out to test the technique on practicing physicians. During
a single 90-minute session, 149 general internists listened
400 times to five common heart murmurs including aortic
stenosis, aortic regurgitation, mitral stenosis, mitral
regurgitation and innocent systolic murmur. Previous
studies have found the average rate of correct heart sound
identification in physicians is 40 percent. After the
session, the average improved to 80 percent."
Medical News Today
Dr. Barrett had an idea, and his students helped him work
it into something that put heart sounds, medical students,
and iPods together to create better doctors.
While this may not seem like an unusual pairing of talents,
it took different people (with different perspectives)
working together to create something that would help the
There are other times when the pairing of seemingly
unrelated talents works together to create more skilled
"Fine motor skill/manual dexterity requirement
The dental hygiene program requires that all students
develop fine motor and manual dexterity skills. Those
applying to start the dental hygiene program in fall 2007
and later will be asked to present documentation that they
have participated in some kind of structured experience to
develop these skills.
Structured experiences can include:
* taking a visual and performing arts course off the
College's approved list (for example SCPT 209 Introduction
to Sculpture) that makes participants use fine motor
* taking a course such as pottery, sculpture or painting
with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts or some other type of
structured art program.
* taking private music or art lessons."
VCU College of Humanities and Sciences
While most people want their dentists and dental hygienists
to have good fine motor skills and manual dexterity, they
may not have considered that having some experience with
art and sculpture would help someone get into dental
Nor would many people think to look to those with video
game experience when searching for a good surgeon.
"MARINA DEL REY, Calif. -- If Dr. James Rosser Jr. had his
way, every surgeon in America would have three
indispensable tools on the operating room tray: a scalpel,
sutures, and a video game controller. Rosser looks like a
football player and cracks jokes like a comic, but his job
as a top surgeon and director of the Advanced Medical
Technologies Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New
York is to find better ways to practice medicine. At the
top of his list -- video games. ... Surgeons who play video
games three hours a week have 37 percent fewer errors and
accomplish tasks 27 percent faster, he says, basing his
observation on results of tests using the video game Super
Monkey Ball. To devise better systems for training
physicians, Rosser and his colleagues brought together
surgeons, movie makers and video game designers to discuss
ways the three groups can develop better tools."
A group of people that some might not normally expect to
work together were, once again, brought together to help
create better doctors.
"TATRC [U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology
Research Center] demonstrated a program called STATCare, a
virtual simulator for combat medics that lets them bandage
wounds, apply tourniquets, administer intravenous fluids,
inject medications and make all of the other assessments
they would be required to do in an actual battlefield. ...
Another product on display was a system developed by
researcher Walter Greenleaf that applies technology to hand
rehabilitation -- patients wear a special sensor-laden
glove and control a video game by doing exercises. In the
classic game Asteroids, rotating the wrist moves a
spaceship left and right, while making a fist fires
cannons. All of that gameplay may sound like a waste of
time to some people, but for Rosser, it's all part of the
While some collaborations work together to help medical
professionals do their jobs more effectively, others work
to create products that help patients with their
"Dr. Sung You, assistant professor at Hampton University's
Department of Physical Therapy, is using video games to
make physical therapy fun.... 'The virtual reality is an
interactive exercise program with a camera that captures
movements of the participants and allows the patient to be
emerged into the 3-D video game,' said You. The games
include snow boarding, shark bate, step up/step down and
soccer. ... 'Virtual reality is enjoyable for the patient,'
said You. 'It is not perceived as exercise or therapy, yet
you are exercising and having fun. Virtual reality
eliminates the mental block of doing routine exercise.'"
Questions of the Week:
What unique skills do you have that you think could be used
to help those in health care professions? What interests do
you have that you might not have thought could lead to a
career in health care, but might actually help you as a
health care professional? What skills do your friends and
family members have that you could see being used to
benefit doctors, nurses, and patients in creative and
unique ways that others might not have thought about? What
other nontraditional pairings do you think could work
together to create a better health care system (for the
doctors, the patients, or both)?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions. Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum