Saarbruecken (GER), April 2018 - In this interview, Nick Spielkamp, digital learning expert at IMC, explores the special requirements that exist for digital learning solutions in the highly regulated medical and pharmaceutical sector and how virtual reality applications are finding their way into operating theatres.
First of all, we would like to know how virtual learning operates in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors and which further education needs currently exist for traditional healthcare professions. Perhaps you could give us a few examples?
Nick Spielkamp: Ever stronger regulation in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors is leading to much more importance being placed on mandatory training in traditional healthcare professions. This is shown by the increasing demand from the manufacturers of diagnostic equipment for training solutions for specialist medical personnel in hospitals and other points of care. We are talking here about mandatory digital training modules that need to be repeated at regular intervals.
If specialist personnel neglect to complete this training, this has a direct impact on their authorisation to use the corresponding diagnostic equipment. Alongside mandatory training, more focus is being placed on blended learning solutions in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors that address increasing pressure on costs and the extreme complexity of developments in medicines. In such training modules, participants learn, for example, how clinical studies can be conceived in such a way that they meet economic requirements on the one hand and regulatory requirements for safety in medicines on the other.
Are there special requirements placed on content and learning formats in these areas, and to what extent do the solutions and products offered by IMC help to meet these requirements?
Nick Spielkamp: Interactive simulations embedded into the entire learning journey are increasingly being used in blended learning solutions that address the clinical studies mentioned above. The aim here is that learners can understand what effects their decisions have in the course of a clinical study. To this end, the conception phase is simulated in which, for example, decisions are made about the number of tests on medicines to be conducted and the number of patients to be tested.
Through the immediate responses received in the interactive simulation, and a demonstration of the effects on various parameters such as costs and the duration of the study, the target audience learns to re-evaluate or optimise the concept behind future or current clinical studies. Mandatory training, already mentioned for the correct use of medical diagnostic equipment, is supported by IMC through the use of learning technology solutions that automate the entire certification and re-certification process.
This makes it possible for training managers to manage such training and training measures efficiently and reduces their workload on routine tasks. In addition, we integrate our solutions into the customer's environment in such a way that only specialist personnel who have successfully completed the mandatory training and corresponding tests have access to the medical diagnostic equipment.
Furthermore, we support our customers in maintaining the strict requirements laid down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by automatically checking (as required by 21 CFR Part 11 of the FDA) the update status of all the relevant documentation and proof required in an audit and saving it in a structured way in the IMC Learning Suite. This way, access to this important information is available at any time for our customers in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.
When dealing with the skills needed to operate medical diagnostic equipment, new and innovative training formats such as "how to" apps, VR nuggets, and learning nugget apps, which offer entirely new possibilities for the dissemination of learning content, are being used increasingly by our customers. Embedded into the entire learning journey, these formats offer an ideal enhancement to traditional digital elements and face-to-face training sessions.
Our AR training apps, for example, allow instruction into the various control mechanisms of the hand grips in operation robots by means of the learner pointing the camera of their smartphone or tablet at the equipment. The corresponding information in the form of illustrations and short explanatory videos is then shown in the AR app. This technique can be used in a very targeted way for optimising medical device training workshops that take place following formal training sessions.