Virtual Medical Center: the Future of Medical Education

I’ve already written two posts about Second Life, the virtual world. One post about the role of genetics, and one about the role of medicine in Second Life. Now, I’d like to talk about a fantastic project, an incredible woman and the future of medical education. Please welcome the Ann Myers Medical Center. Behind DoctorAnn Buchanan (Second Life name), there is a real doctor based in the UK who envisions a hospital where medical students and nurses could be trained. But I must stop for a moment:

In the virtual world, you can simulate everything if you have the proper animation for the procedure. For example, I can take a blood sample if I have an animation created for this purpose. So now, the most important part of the project is to convince more and more animators, script-writers to work for us.

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This lady is a wonderful person. She’s spent a big amount of money and she spares no effort to make this dream come true. Now it seems that the whole project can have a great start somewhen around June with students from a few schools in Maryland and a couple in Canada, but others can also join (like me from Hungary).

So what is the basic concepts behind the whole project? We would focus on patient history, physicial examination and telemetry. A virtual mentor gives one student a disease process with which to familiarize himself and another will play the role of the physician.

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DoctorAnn told me about a spirometer and she explained that someone is building the animation for an avatar to breathe into it. They are working on an animation to take the blood pressure and she’d be interested in developing a script map for the surgical area and for exams. So we can’t survive the bloody tests anyway…

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I hope she doesn’t mind if I quote some of her words:

I went into medicine because I love to heal. The way medicine is, currently, physicians do not heal. I went in to teaching because I love to open minds, but there again, my hands are somewhat tied – this allows me the avenue to both things I love and do them well.

The Ann Myers Medical Center provides a fantastic project for medical students, I’m longing to be involved even in the first classes.

A great example of educational possibilities in Second Life: learning about cardiac murmurs:

Further reading: