This medical school trains clinician-scientists ready to create tech-led biomedical innovations

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When Dr Petty Chen was experimenting with using radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands – or affected person tags – to extra precisely map out in-demand companies inside Sengkang General Hospital, she by no means thought it would at some point be used to preserve sufferers protected throughout Covid-19.

The tags have been initially designed to relay information about sufferers’ areas to a central laptop system so as to optimise the hospital’s capacity to handle manpower and different sources by calculatingaffected person turnover charges, together with admissions, discharges and transfers between wards. 

However, the tags had an surprising goal throughout the pandemic: contact tracing.

“With patient tags, we could monitor the distance between patients and the duration that they had been together,” explains Dr Chen. “This allowed us to do contact tracing very easily in the hospital. So, if there was one infected patient, we didn’t have to quarantine an entire ward.”

This is an instance of how considerate technology-led innovation can assist resolve rising healthcare issues – and exactly why Duke-NUS Medical School is, greater than ever, inculcating this spirit of innovation in its graduates (in keeping with the Ministry of Education’s emphasis on technology-enabled and technology-enriched learning in higher education).

Today, a number of challenges loom on the horizon for healthcare: an ageing inhabitants, steadily rising healthcare prices and inadequate manpower, to title a couple of. 

To deal with the trade’s rising calls for, Duke-NUS is coaching a brand new technology of clinician-scientists who don’t solely depend on present scientific information however are additionally ready to assume out of the field and harness technological experience so as to innovate more practical options for a myriad of healthcare points.

Inspiring new methods of pondering

One of the important thing methods it’s doing so is with the new Innovation and Design Thinking module, beneath the Doctor of Medicine (MD) programme. 

Spearheaded by Dr Chen herself, the week-long course trains budding physicians to develop a solutions-oriented mindset to handle present healthcare challenges by utilizing what she calls “design frameworks” – a inventive problem-solving strategy that permits college students to extra absolutely perceive key healthcare issues earlier than collectively brainstorming options. 

The complicated and multi-layered nature of points in healthcare requires clinicians to strategy them from a number of views. However, tunnel imaginative and prescient is likely one of the largest obstacles that clinicians might face when trying to brainstorm options, notably in additional skilled consultants, says Dr Chen, who can be director of medical merchandise at Asus Global.

She explains that this occurs as a result of clinicians might usually strategy an issue with out having a holistic understanding of it: “You only really see one side of things as a doctor. You may see something one way, but the nurses could see another, and the patient could report something entirely different.”

The module, which is now in its third 12 months, thus goals to nurture the best mindset in college students from the beginning and empower them to develop into more proficient clinicians sooner or later. Through the course, college students are tasked to absolutely consider all kinds of healthcare challenges – corresponding to probably the most environment friendly means to distribute contraceptives or how to enhance screening for aged sufferers with diabetic ulcerations.

The latter, as an illustration, requires college students to perceive what precisely causes aged sufferers to miss or keep away from their screenings, even when the results of leaving ulcerations untreated might be extreme?

Once college students have a greater understanding of the issue from the affected person’s perspective – corresponding to a lack of awareness about their medical situation, or a bent to overlook their appointments – they’ll then perceive the place the affected person lies relative to different stakeholders corresponding to caregivers and regulatory our bodies.

From there, they’ll harness the usage of medical expertise to craft a extra holistic resolution that takes all of those views under consideration to handle the issues of various stakeholders and enhance the standard of care.  

Using revolutionary applied sciences within the classroom

If college students are to assume up technology-enabled options, additionally they have to be aware of – and cozy working at – the slicing fringe of medical expertise. 

To obtain this, Duke-NUS affords entry to state-of-the-art applied sciences which might be divided into 4 main classes: Immersive Learning, Simulation and Serious Gaming, 3D Printing, and Artificial Intelligence and Learning Analytics.

This consists of trials with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality applied sciences that permit college students to practise and higher familiarise themselves with anatomy by immersing them in additional correct and detailed simulations.

“These approaches aim to support and enhance our MD curriculum, help develop new educational approaches, insights and technological innovations to transform medical education, and so improve lives,” says Professor Fernando Bello, affiliate dean of the Technology Enhanced Learning & Innovation Department within the Duke-NUS Office of Education. 

For occasion, the school has constructed a brand new Immersive Learning Space outfitted with 3D high-definition digital dissection tables and customisable anatomical fashions to facilitate college students’ self-directed studying.

3D printing can be getting used to create lifelike patient-specific fashions so as to higher familiarise college students with human anatomy and pathology, permitting them to carry out extra correct scientific interventions. 

In coaching its college students to develop, pilot, check and modify attainable technology-based options, Duke-NUS goals to produce clinicians who’re expertise creators, not simply expertise shoppers, says Prof Bello. 

All that is performed in keeping with Duke-NUS’ “Clinician First, Clinician Plus” academic philosophy – the concept graduates might be at first wonderful clinicians, and develop into main educators, scientists, students and innovators over the course of their careers.

Prof Bello says: “By exposing our students to a wide range of new technologies, and facilitating and supporting their use across the curriculum, we are preparing them not only to be avid and able users of technology, but also to drive technological innovation in healthcare.”

“Growing healthcare demands require new, creative, and disruptive approaches,” he says. “An innovation culture that includes innovation for educating doctors, and innovation for delivering and receiving care, is fundamental to successfully tackling existing and future healthcare challenges.”

Want to be a part of Duke-NUS Medical School’s tradition of innovation? Click here to join their digital open home on May 21. 

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