A $30,000 Knowledge Translation Grant from the Brain Repair Centre is helping Dr. David Clarke and his collaborators develop a mobile app that will hone the operating-room skills of nurses and residents.

“We’re working on an iPad-based technology to train neurosurgery residents and nurses in the instruments and procedures they will encounter in the OR,” says Dr. Clarke, a neurosurgeon and Head of the Division of Neurosurgery at Dalhousie Medical School. “Eventually, we will develop a more immersive operating-suite environment, but this is the first step.”

Dr. Clarke and his collaborators are working with British Columbia-based Conquer Mobile—and neurosurgery patients in Halifax—to develop the app.

“We’re very grateful to the patients who have consented to have their surgeries recorded on video,” notes Dr. Clarke. “We’re condensing clips of these procedures into short videos that describe the procedures, the steps and the instruments, so residents and nurses can review them and rehearse their roles.”

As Dr. Clarke explains, there are thousands of surgical instruments and any single neurosurgery procedure could require 100 to 300 of them. He and his collaborators are currently testing a beta version of the app with 100 nurses they’re recruiting into a controlled trial, to see how much it can improve their recognition and understanding of the instruments compared to typical training with actual instruments.

“It’s the job of the OR nurse to have all the necessary instruments ready and arranged in a very particular order for each procedure,” he explains. “The feedback from nurses so far is that they love the app and see it as a valuable tool for refreshing their memory about the detailed specifics of an upcoming procedure before they go in to set up.”

Once the apps’ effectiveness is proven, the next step will be to commercialize the technology—and expand to surgical realms beyond neurosurgery.

“We see the opportunity to build our infrastructure to become national and international leaders in developing and evaluating this kind of training technology,” Dr. Clarke says. “The American Society of Registered Nurses has already integrated our technology into its education package. The expansion potential is huge.”

Patients will be the ultimate beneficiaries. “Improved efficiency in the operating room reduces the length of procedures and the risk of errors, which reduces complications and improves patient safety,” he says. “It also frees up OR time so waitlists for surgeries will be shorter.”

Wednesday the 23rd. © 2018. All rights reserved.. Bridgewater Media Services