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Partnering with the Department of Defense: A Unique Collaborative That Results in a Unique Medical Training Model

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Conference Abstract: 3D printing (3DP) at the point of care has increasingly been utilized in the development and implementation of high-fidelity simulation. 3DP technology has emerged as a promising approach to develop highly customizable models that can transform the medical educational experience. The unique 3DP model design process, coupled with iterative change guided by focused learner feedback, offers a distinct advantage in rapid creation of high-fidelity simulation models that commonly will surpass existing commercially available market models.

Umbilical cord cannulation (UCC) is a critical skill required by pediatricians and neonatologist during the critical moments following birth for urgent newborn resuscitation. There are commercially available UCC simulation models used to train experts regarding this crucial skill. In partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD), a novel 3DP UCC model was designed to instruct medical professionals in this skill. The model's initial evaluation was conducted by an academic affiliated neonatologist. Following initial efforts, a feedback survey was administered to collect impressions of our 3DP UCC.

The feedback survey included: vessel attributes (size, texture, flexibility, and color), ease in cannulation, and nature of the supporting Wharton's Jelly (hue, texture, and consistency). These survey questions were completed by learners who have both utilized commercially available situation models and performed the procedure on newborn children. This feedback guided subsequent DOD iterative design changes, resulting in a second model version that was employed in the training and recertification of various medical providers experienced in umbilical catheter placement. The second model was once again assessed against market models through a survey to inform further refinements.

This approach, in which DOD coupled an external clinical affiliate, ensures that model iterative design remains adaptable with continuous enhancement. Such collaborative practices within this sphere will foster an enriched learning experience and, ultimately, contribute to improved patient outcomes through enhanced hands-on training.
  • Daniel Scheese
    Resident Physician
    Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
  • Peter Liacouras, PhD
    Dir of Services: 3D Medical Applications Center
    Walter Reed National Military Medical Center