Researchers at SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia, have developed a game-like app that trains healthcare professionals to interpret ultrasound images.
Ultrasounds can now image nearly all parts of the body, and those images can be used to study various organs and glands, as well as for assistance and guidance in different types of surgical operations. "One major advantage of ultrasound is that it makes a number of examinations and operations simpler and less time-consuming, as well as being easier on the patient," says SINTEF researcher Kaj Johansen.
The game has three levels of difficulty, so new tasks appear as users become better at the game. On the first level, users must identify the artery shown in red. On the most difficult level, the user is given the same task, but no help is given and the task is timed.
The app also trains users in identifying a nerve as well as the surrounding landmarks in ultrasound images. One of the tasks in the game is to place a needle close to the nerve and inject anesthetics around it prior to an operation on the leg.
Although only a limited amount of illustrative material has been incorporated in the beta version of the app, "Our aim is to add more data to the app that will cover more of the anatomical variability seen in patients," says SINTEF researcher Frank Lindseth.
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