Medical Visualization: An Essential Key to Health Care Education

A year ago, the Medical Visualization Department (MedVis) did not exist at Jump Simulation, or anywhere in OSF HealthCare. Most people were not even familiar with the term.

Now the program boasts expertise in medical imaging, augmented and virtual realities, biomedical engineering, visual design, medical illustration, animation, immersive environments, online learning, telemedicine, mobile device integration and even behavior change through apps (which may include biosensor wearables). 

Since the new unit's creation in spring of 2017, the dramatic growth, professional expertise, clinical applications and expanded capabilities have been crucial to the Mission of OSF, Jump and beyond. The impact not only affects clinicians and employees, but the very patients and communities we serve. In one short year, the innovative Jump MedVis team is establishing an international reputation as a leader.

New Frontiers in Biomedical Research

I recently had the honor of sharing my knowledge about the evolution of medical visualization and our work at Jump through a keynote address at Louisiana Tech University, which is celebrating the recent launch of a new undergraduate curriculum called, VISTA (Visual Integration of Science, Technology and Art). The innovative program was created to address emerging needs in health care, education, technology and scientific exploration. 

It also includes a new lab that allows students in the medical visualization program to work with virtual reality, 3D printing of anatomical and medical models and advanced molecular visualization using the newest hardware and software. The lab is expected to enhance coursework, research, application and exploration into the new frontiers in medical visualization.

The development of programs like this shows how much universities around the world are recognizing the positive impact medical visualization is having in the health care industry.  

Aligning New Professionals and Research to Address Health Care Needs

At Jump, MedVis team members continue to demonstrate the power of their work in medical education. The group recently received funding for three new ARCHES grants with colleagues at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The grants will address critical health care needs in cardiology (heart failure education, compliance and behavior change app), dermatology (identification of skin lesions and replication on cloud-based mobile devices) and orthopedic surgery (knee simulator model with AR/VR “deeper dive” integration).

The new visualization platforms and interactive technologies will serve as foundations to primary clinical applications and to conditions that are difficult to manage and often ignored. Similar opportunities abound for new solutions that provide varied, yet engaging resources focusing on how people learn, interact and include diverse populations.

The emerging needs in health care and clinical education are challenging. Medical visualization at Jump is at the forefront of addressing these needs through innovative, forward-thinking programs such as ARCHES with UIUC and a research agreement with UIC’s Biomedical Visualization graduate program. These unique academic programs (and others in development) will ensure that there is a well-educated, prepared pool of talented professionals to move our Mission at OSF HealthCare and the future of health care forward.

Categories: Advanced Imaging and Modeling (AIM), Augmented Reality (AR), Bioengineering, Innovation, Jump ARCHES, Medical Visualization, Telehealth, Virtual Reality (VR)