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­W Med Students Prepare With Cutting Edge Technology

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The University of Washington (UW) is increasingly requiring all medical, nursing, and pharmacology students, and those in similar fields, to perfect their skills in simulated environments before interacting with a human patient. UW has been using a simulated environment in various forms for some time, but it was only recently reconfigured into a comprehensive institute. The simulation tools enable students to practice surgeries and provide feedback to tell students if they are grabbing too hard and causing tissue damage or placing a cut poorly. Many medical schools still have residents perform their first procedure on actual patients, which Brain Ross, executive director of the UW's Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies, believes is a mistake. Ross says an increasing number of studies show that error rates and operating times can be significantly reduced when surgeons practice their skills using virtual reality simulations before operating on a patient. UW now is trying to get Microsoft to adapt its Xbox console for use as a regional telemedicine tool for teaching students at remote locations.

From Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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