Category Archives: Innovation

Jump Ventures into Video Gaming

It’s well-known that smoking cigarettes is not good for you. A lot of work has been successfully done to discourage young people from picking up the unhealthy
vice. However, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that every day, thousands of people under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. I, along with a team of other Jump staff members, are hoping to decrease that trend with the development of an interactive, educational video game.

This project is part of a larger collaborative effort with OSF Saint Francis Medical Center to curb smoking among young people in central Illinois. Jump Simulation is hosting the annual event, Kick Butts on March 14th, 6:00-9:00 p.m. that teaches students in fourth grade through high school about the health risks of smoking in an innovative way.

Most of the time children are exposed to this information through lectures or handouts at school. While lecturing gets the point across, sometimes hands-on experience and visuals can leave a greater lasting impact. I recall going to the Robert Crown Center for Health Education as a kid and actively participating in various demonstrations. To this day, I remember educators inflating a healthy lung and one that’s been damaged by smoking. I was completely grossed out. That lasting image and experience are what Kick Butts wants to leave with its audience.

Smoking from the Inside Out

Kick Butts will feature a number of activities to effectively demonstrate the effect smoking has in and outside the body. Participants will watch a documentary, see different parts of anatomy impacted by smoking and step into Virtual Reality goggles to get up close and personal with the way lung cancer evolves over time.

My part in all of this was to work with designers and biomedical visualization specialists here at Jump to create an interactive and educational video game. The idea is for participants to pilot a ship (a la “Fantastic Voyage”), using an Xbox 360 controller, through a smoker’s airways to destroy a tumor. Along the way, students will learn about the surrounding anatomy and observe what “smoking from the inside” looks like in a real patient.

We quickly designed the video game using the Unity game engine tool. However, we have the ability to turn this game into an even more immersive experience by further developing it for the Virtual Reality space.

The Future of Video Gaming

We are excited about the game we developed for the upcoming Kick Butts event and we believe it will leave a lasting impression on teens who continually face peer pressure to smoke.

Beyond that, creating this game is a great opportunity for Jump to get involved in more education video game development. Video games and similar virtual learning tools have been present in medical simulation for quite some time. What we want to do is provide a fun gaming environment that is both entertaining and educational for users.

In addition, video games have such a wide range of audiences that we could tailor games to both children and adults, scaling up the lesson material and difficulty accordingly. With the help of our designers and biomedical visualization specialists, Jump has a unique opportunity to synergize and create some truly exceptional content.

Closing in on Anatomic Replication

The purpose of medical imaging from the very beginning was to figure out ways to look inside the body and learn what’s going on structurally and physiologically. To that end, physicians used x-rays or performed exploratory surgeries for decades to identify disease or injury. Then came the ultrasound in the 1960s that gave clinicians real-time images of internal body structures using sound waves. Imaging techniques progressed even further in the 1970s with the advent of CT scans and MRI, which are both commonly used today.

Dr. Matthew Bramlet discusses importance of anatomic replication at AHA Heart Innovation Forum. It’s my belief that 3D modeling will be the next critical tool used by physicians to not only diagnose, but improve surgical planning, patient outcomes and the education of future clinicians. It has the power to essentially produce exact replications of soft tissue structures, improving understanding among doctors and patients alike. But first, it will take collaboration across the U.S. to make this a reality.

I recently spoke at the American Heart Association-Midwest Affiliate’s Heart Innovation Forum to advocate for imaging techniques that lead to anatomic replication. The Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM) team at Jump Simulation has come up with a semi-automated process to convert CT and MRI scans into 3D digital images that can be printed or integrated into virtual environments like augmented and virtual realities (AR and VR). What we’ve learned is that these nearly perfect 3D surrogates of anatomy can’t happen without working to create quality images from the start.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

The old adage “garbage in, garbage out” applies directly to 3D modeling. The standard across the nation for the last ten years has been to quickly produce images that might not have the best quality but lead to diagnosis in an efficient and productive manner. The ability to print or view these images in three-dimensions, though, requires a little more time and effort but leads to discoveries we’ve never seen before.

There is a quality standard that must be met each step along the continuum of 3D modeling translation. If the image is poor – fail. If the segmentation is poor – fail. If the print is poor – fail. If the VR translation is poor – fail. The focus of our cardiovascular imaging efforts at OSF HealthCare is to generate the highest quality images we can attain.

Most recently, we sent a quality focused 3D heart digital file to the incredible engineers at Caterpillar’s additive manufacturing lab. They have a printer that allows us to produce a heart in a soft enough material that can be cut with a scalpel, allowing surgeons to effectively practice on a patient’s heart before surgery. The result was incredible. Not only were we able to practice the surgery before the operation, but we were able to see anatomic detail like never before seen, prompting an entirely new set of possibilities where 3D printing could potentially improve patient care.

Making a Case for High-Quality Imaging Standards

There are many physicians around the U.S who understand the impact 3D modeling can have on surgical planning, patient outcomes and the education of future clinicians. In fact, a group of us are working with the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association to create accuracy and quality standards for the Jump Simulation-curated 3D Heart Library, an open-source digital repository of hearts with congenital defects on the NIH 3D Print Exchange. However, I recognize there are still some skeptics out there who don’t understand the value of this technology.

My experience with these models has been that they give surgeons a point of reference they haven’t had before, giving them the ability to make informed decisions before operating on patients. They make viewing anatomical images intuitive across all medical specialties. 3D models give patients and their families a better understanding of procedures they may have to undergo. They also allow educators to easily explain different types of congenital heart disease and what they look like to physicians looking to master the skill of diagnosis or surgery.

Physicians are busy and it’s difficult to put the time and effort into higher quality imaging. However, doing so leads to exact anatomic replications and, in my opinion, is the next big jump in medical imaging surrogacy. It’s going to take clinicians making medical decisions or planning surgery to be impacted by this for the advocacy to come through the clinical community.

Advancing Simulation Beyond Education

Simulation in health care has powerful potential. For years, it’s been utilized to educate and train those seeking a career in medicine. It’s also been leveraged as a way to provide insights into latent health system flaws such as communication issues among clinicians or whether a medical facility has all the essential tools it needs to provide the best care possible.

u-of-i-innovation-space OSF HealthCare, through Jump Simulation and the University of Illinois, is expanding its use of simulation even further by leveraging it to design novel solutions in health care. The idea is to simulate problems discovered throughout the health care system so that engineers and clinicians can observe and brainstorm ways to fix these issues.

Using simulation as a design tool is still fairly new to health care systems around the U.S. But Jump Simulation and U of I have been collaborating on this type of work since the opening of Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center, so much so that there are now dedicated labs for these collaborative efforts in the newly minted space within Jump called OSF Innovation.

Four Labs, One Purpose

All four labs are located on the fourth floor of the Jump facility. Two will be dedicated to the ongoing work Jump Sim has established with the University of Illinois’ Colleges of Medicine and Engineering through Jump Applied Research for Community Health through Engineering and Simulation (ARCHES). The other two rooms are committed to projects in Advanced Imaging and Modeling.

All four assignments pair clinicians and engineers to develop medical education technology that will advance the clinical agenda at OSF. This is part of a larger effort by the University of Illinois re-thinking how it innovates around curriculum.

Two of the projects utilizing innovation lab space were recently awarded a continuation of Jump ARCHES funding. One team of individuals from OSF HealthCare, U of I, Illinois Neurological Institute, and Bradley University is creating a device to teach young health care professionals to practice feeling and identifying abnormal muscle behaviors in patients with brain lesions. The goal is to expand training to more than just neurologists so that OSF can increase the number of patients served.

The second development is focused on producing an avatar-based system to communicate with patients at the time of discharge so they fully understand their medical instructions before going home. The system could also be used to train medical students to communicate with patients in a simulated environment. The
dikshant-pradhan-working-on-orthopedic-trainerultimate goal of the project led by clinicians and engineers from U of I and OSF is to reduce readmission rates at area hospitals.

The two labs devoted to work in Advanced Imaging and Modeling are leveraging virtual and augmented reality technologies like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive to revolutionize how clinicians and radiologists view anatomy and advance how human anatomy is taught to medical students.

Nurture, Validate and Disseminate

The intention of committing space for collaborative work among clinicians and engineers is to support teams with great ideas and provide technical and clinical expertise to advance their projects. Each of the teams selected to use the lab space within Jump will get to do so for up to a year. From there, these ventures can be validated within the simulation space at Jump and throughout the OSF Healthcare System.

Completed projects could eventually find a home within the University of Illinois’ curriculum and disseminated to its various medical campuses. It’s this ongoing collaboration between OSF and U of I that makes Jump Simulation a one-of-a-kind facility.