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Innovative Education

State-of-the-Art Resources for Health Care Professionals are MITIESM at Houston Methodist

Houston Methodist healthcare professionals are dedicated to providing the best patient care experience possible while training students, residents, fellows and physician scientists. To this end, Houston Methodist experts toured surgical centers around the country to define exactly what kind of innovative training facility Houston Methodist needed to prepare its health care professionals to best care for their patients, and empower caregivers, students and trainees. His vision for a state-of-the-art virtual hospital and hands-on clinical training facility led to the generation of MITIESM: the Houston Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation & Education. MITIE’s high-tech simulation spaces, access to a world-class imaging center and integrated audiovisual and virtual reality capabilities encompass a comprehensive unique training system. A center of innovation, MITIE offers a wide spectrum of training, clinical research and industry development resources. Of even greater value is MITIE’s access to the combined expertise of professionals from across Houston Methodist. Widely known for its hands-on learning opportunities, MITIE has attracted a growing number of trainees, physicians, researchers and clinical innovators from around the world. MITIE has become a center for innovative ideas and technological advances that offers an extensive array of resources for training, research and device development. Education Simulation at MITIE offers a procedural and clinical simulation environment for education and research, including a virtual hospital and procedural skills labs that support evidence-based practice.
MITIE’s high-tech simulation spaces, access to a world-class imaging center and integrated audiovisual and virtual reality capabilities encompass a comprehensive unique training system. A center of innovation, MITIE offers a wide spectrum of training, clinical research and industry development resources.
Healthcare professionals can use MITIE to maintain their finely-honed procedural skills or develop expertise in new techniques. Through ongoing training for healthcare professionals, research on skill acquisition and development of novel procedures, MITIE improves patient outcomes and safety. Training through MITIE also ensures that professionals are equipped with the most advanced skills possible. Procedural-based initiatives empower physicians to safely bring the latest in treatment modalities to their patients, with ongoing mentoring and support. MITIE’s state-of-the-art virtual surgery center enables clinicians to develop and integrate new technologies into their practices, such as the use of image-guided technology and robotic surgery. Simulation training of new physicians preparing for residency programs increases confidence and perceived ability once in the program – critical factors for success especially for those going into surgery. MITIE also offers courses, residencies and fellowships, and educational events throughout the year. In addition, MITIE offers certification programs in Fundamentals of Endoscopic surgery and Fundamentals of Laparoscopic surgery. Research is also a fundamental part of MITIE's commitment to health care leadership. It serves as a core facility for researchers to foster their work with access to sophisticated surgical and simulation environments for the latest in less invasive and more precise surgical procedures. Examples of research efforts translating into practical applications include assessing technical expertise, supporting a surgeon's first procedure and telementoring to develop expertise. To assess technical expertise, thermal imaging of a surgeon’s face while performing a surgical procedure is used to quantitatively measure their level of stress and procedural competence. A surgeon’s first procedure is supported through a sophisticated research environment that allows MITIE scientists to develop and rehearse new procedures on simulators rather than real patients. Once perfected, the operation can then be performed safely on patients. Telementoring is facilitated via wireless communication between practicing surgeons and MITIE experts to provide the necessary guidance during a procedure. To further drive innovation and training objectives, MITIE utilizes technologies such as the Oculus Quest for space orientation that could be used in various applications. For example, Houston Methodist’s Department of Otolaryngology uses virtual reality (VR) for surgical planning: loading patient’s CTs and MRIs into a system that can render patient pathology in a VR environment, allowing a 3D immersive experience for the surgeon, depicting the pathology, vital structures adjacent to the area of interest and the surgical corridor. VR can also be used in education, to provide a virtual orientation of facilities for professionals. This is especially helpful during a pandemic when on-campus visits are not possible. Another important consideration during a respiratory pathogen pandemic is health care provider safety. Continued training of core providers promotes vigilance in pandemic situations. Given the high risk of virus aerosolization during tracheostomy, simulation training focused on proper PPE donning and doffing is essential for these physicians. Research led by Phillip S. LoSavio, MD, indicates that standardized COVID-19 tracheostomy simulation training at facilities treating COVID-19 patients can increase physician safety and confidence in these procedures in real-life scenarios. At Houston Methodist, MITIE stretches the boundaries of medicine by integrating the most advanced tools for medical education with clinical care and research. In so doing, it empowers the health care professionals who step inside to deliver world-class patient care. To learn more, enjoy an exciting virtual tour through MITIE.
Heather Lander, PhD, February 2022
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