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While tablet computers have served to transform the face of personal computing over the last several years, it may seem as if this technology has yet to make significant inroads into the area of modern medicine. This actually couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as tablet computers have helped revolutionize electronic medical records and improve medical treatment.
Furthermore, tablet computers are now helping change the face of teaching in medical schools.
Multiple medical schools across the nation now have a device known as an Anatomage Virtual Dissection Table on their respective campuses. While this may sound like something out of Star Trek, it’s actually an $80,000 human-sized tablet computer designed to enhance the study of human anatomy.
How exactly does it work?
The machine’s screen projects a vivid 3-D image of the human body, allowing users to zoom in and out of the bones, organs and bodily systems. It comes preloaded with 200 cases of pathologies (tumors, throat abscesses, aortic aneurysms, etc.) that enable students to see what exactly is happening inside the body when these conditions occur.
Interestingly, experts indicate that the machine has value beyond just educating medical students, such that it could be used as an invaluable teaching tool for residents and an important planning tool for surgeons.
That’s because the machine allows a patient’s CT scan images to be downloaded and projected onto the screen, providing a three-dimensional view of a patient’s anatomy. For residents, this ability to see more can help them feel more confident about making decisions, while for surgeons it can help them map out surgeries by knowing specific details of a particular patient’s anatomy.
While the Anatomage Virtual Dissection Table has yet to become standard equipment in medical schools, hospitals and clinics, it may only be a matter of time. That’s certainly encouraging as advancements in modern medical technology typically not only lead to better outcomes for patients, but also serve to help prevent instances of medical malpractice.
Source: The Worcester Telegram & Gazette, “Virtual dissection table gives startling views,” Jeremy Shulkin, May 18, 2014
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