Making News
Making News

Nicholson Student Media: UCF to Use Dr. Hologram to Train Future Healthcare Professionals

UCF continues to innovate education by allowing healthcare students to be the first to learn from holograms of patients, according to Bari Hoffman.

"This technology will allow students to connect with patients better then any normal video call would," Hoffman said. "The students will be able to see the full body effects of disorders such as PTSD."

When Hoffman, who is the Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and the spearhead of this project, first heard of the technology being used in the entertainment field, she immediately recognized the ways it could be used for education. The technology, Dr. Hologram, was developed by PORTL, and is capable of sending life-size, 4K, three dimensional entities in either real time or as a recording. 

"All you need is a 4k camera and an adapter," Hoffman said.

This technology has been used in the entertainment industry, UCF is the first university in the country to use it for educational purposes. While UCF came up with the idea of using this technology for educational purposes, PORTL came up with the name Dr. Hologram.

"It's about showing the country that we have some very exciting things happening here at UCF," Hoffman said. "We are a college that is really focused on innovation and thinking outside of the box with how we teach."

Students will be able to learn about conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to PTSD through examining hologram patients. One patient included Earl Glass, an 82 year old with Parkinson's, a disorder of the central nervous system that affects movement, often including tremors. In the video, Glass is seen taking steps forward as well as swinging a golf club and the affect Parkinson has throughout his body.

UCF was able to acquire this device thanks to a gift from Brooks Rehabilitation, a rehab group headquartered in Jacksonville. This is Brooks' first physical contribution to UCF, however several UCF students have interned with Brooks Rehabilitation in the past. 

“Innovation and continuous learning are core Brooks Rehabilitation values,” Brooks Rehabilitation CEO Doug Baer said in a UCF press release. "As patients expect the delivery of care to expand and occur in new ways, ensuring students have access to cutting-edge technology for simulated patient training and learning is essential to advancing the health and well-being of our communities."

Dr. Hologram arrived at UCF earlier this summer, according to Hoffman. Since then, Hoffman and a team of UCF film students have been hard at work interviewing potential patients to be used for the fall.

"The past few weeks we have recorded several patients to add to our personal library to be able to study," Hoffman said. "These recordings will help students see the full body affects these disorders have."

Recordings are not the only uses for this technology, as a live feed connection would allow experts around the world to call into a classroom setting. This would allow students to be involved with expert opinions without the expert having to fly to Orlando.

UCF plans to begin using Dr. Hologram in the classroom during this fall semester. Classes that will use the technology include speech pathology and anatomy courses. One professor that will look to implement the technology into her course is Lauren Bislick, a professor for speech pathology.

"We are able to bring a variety of different presentations of acquired communications disorders into the classroom," Bislick said. "It increases the amount of guests students can have in the classroom."

Bislick said that the PORTL technology expands upon video technology, making it feel as though the person is in the room with them.

"This technology allows students to put a face to the disorder that they are learning about," Bislick said. "It adds a level of humanity that a textbook just can't."

This isn’t UCF’s first time using holograms for learning. In 2015, UCF implemented holographic headsets to help study inter-generational learning. The dean for the College of Health Professions and Sciences Christopher Ingersoll says the advancement in the education of students needs to happen as the world advances.

"We're focusing on using this technology to advance the learning of our students," Ingersoll said.

The future of this technology is to not only expand upon the tech itself, but to allow it to be used in different doctrines around UCF. Hoffman believes the next step with this tech is to incorporate responsive artificial intelligence to the program.

"Eventually, students are not only going to come in and watch the holographic patient experience, but also interact with it," Hoffman said. "Instead of the patient telling you their history, the student will instead have to ask for it much like in the real world."

Hoffman also said during her presentation that one day the technology will be able to be used as a way for students to prepare themselves to tell patients bad news. While these advancements are years away, Hoffman does believe that the technology now can be used in other programs, such as business and engineering classes around campus.

Source: Nicholson Student Media

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