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At SPBT’s Medical Device & Diagnostic Trainer Summit (MDDS) this past week, Dr. David Metcalf’s keynote, titled “An Exploratory Guide to the Emerging Mobile Healthcare Market,” gave us a glimpse into emerging mobile technologies that will impact the way we train and educate others in the not-so-distant future. As the Researcher and Director for the Institute of Training at the University of Central Florida, Dr. Metcalf discussed technologies in five key areas:

  • Virtual Worlds
  • 3D Scanning
  • 3D Printing
  • Volumetric Rendering
  • Augmented Reality

At first pass, these areas do not seem all that new. The difference is that Dr. Metcalf and his students are applying a unique approach to how they view and develop each of the above by sticking to this simple value creation model:


Now let’s explore some of the great examples Dr. Metcalf reviewed, starting with Virtual Worlds.

1. Virtual Worlds

virtualfamilyHow do you take a virtual world and move it beyond the normal run-of-the mill characters and 3D graphics? Easy—just create a virtual family, complete with detailed Electronic Health Records (EHRs) on each unique family member. Then build in features that actually have the software call the user on their personal cell phone, posing as a patient with a question, or send them an email when the virtual lab results are in with a diagnosis.

So instead of a one-off experience, the learner now has a the virtual world interacting with them in the real world. Does it get any better than that?

Image Credit:!medical/c23m

2. 3D Scanning

Face_Scan-1At last year’s SPBT MDDS, Dr. Karl Kapp shared with us the power of gamification. During his presentation, he detailed how learners actually performed better when an avatar in the game or simulation closely resembled themselves. Dr. Metcalf has not only incorporated his own students into some of their work, but actual patients as well. For those training in the life sciences, this is particularly interesting, as providing sales reps a real experience with patients is rare. 3D scanning can change they way reps understand patient conditions or disease states while filling in the missing elements of the patient story.

Image Credit:

3. 3D Printing

The advances in 3D scanning are rivaled only by those made in printing. 3D printing has the potential to fill a void in training for the more tactile learners who have been stuck with basic print-or-screen based learning… until now. Why look at an image of a bacteria or virus when you could hold an enlarged, 3D-printed one in your hands? Do you want to read about a kidney when you may have the option to print one? Here is a TED Talk Dr. Metcalf mentioned on the subject: