Erfan Mojaddam, Manager, Academic Technology and Innovation (ATI) at Stanford Medicine
Erfan Mojaddam is the Manager of Academic Technology and Innovation (ATI). His team’s focus is to work closely with faculty and staff to research, initiate, implement, and catalyze the adoption of technology solutions that support teaching, learning, and research activities across the education programs at Stanford Medicine.
Stanford Medicine Expands from 2D Interactive to VR
Question: How did you first become interested in Virtual Reality?
Answer: Our EdTech team is always looking for interesting mediums that can help make the learning experience more authentic and immersive. We’ve spent the previous year focusing on creating content using 2-dimensional interactive video. VR was a natural progression. Although we find 2-D interactive video to be effective because of its use of active learning, we hope that adding a VR experience can further enhance that by adding the immersive component.
Selecting InstaVR for User Interface + Features, Starting Off Creating Training Materials
Question: How did you find InstaVR? What are the main things you foresee using us for?
Answer: Good ole’ Google. We were looking for cloud-based tools that required minimal development work to help us create a proof of concept. We came across a few cloud VR tools, but preferred InstaVR because of its user interface and set of available features.
Our focus right now is on creating training material for medical students and residents, particularly content that can be enhanced when the learner is immersed in the experience. For our next project, we’re thinking about creating material to help medical professionals react during emergency situations, such as natural disasters and active shooter scenarios.
Proof of Concept App Will Explore Distractions in the ER
Question: Can you discuss that first training app a bit more in detail?
Answer: We’re working with a faculty member, a fellow, and a resident within the Emergency Medicine group at Stanford Medicine. They’re interested in creating training material in VR/360, for both medical students and incoming residents. The first module we’re using as a Proof of Concept is training incoming students on the different distractions that happen in an emergency department during patient interviews.
As patients come in, and doctors are initially interviewing them in the ER, there are different types of things that can happen — whether it’s other doctors interrupting or commotion going on outside or equipment beeping at you. These are the things that residents as they come into the field, or medical students, they’re not really prepared for. It’s hard to prepare using textbooks and traditional content.
Creating 360-degree Patient Interviews With Residents and Fellows as Actors
Question: Can you discuss a bit more on how you’re building the Proof of Concept VR experience?
Answer: What we did was create a 4 or 5 minute video of one of those patient interviews, and the different types of distractions that can happen. So we used other residents and fellows as actors familiar with the scenario. We created that right within an emergency room. Now we have the video, and we’re looking at making it a little more interactive. We’re meeting with the faculty and the resident next week to discuss the various interactions that could be possible that would make this a useful learning component.
Erfan’s Team Uses a Nikon KeyMission and Samsung Gear 360 to Film the Scene
Question: How did you record the video? And how did you add the distractions?
Answer: We have a camera right in the middle of the room, your traditional doctor’s office or an emergency room. We filmed using two cameras — a Nikon KeyMission and the Samsung Gear, along with external microphones. There’s a patient actor on the bed. There’s a doctor interviewing the patient and asking why he’s at the emergency room. Within that process, there’s all sorts of distractions.
One example is we have a nurse that comes in, and needs a doctor’s assistant for a question on another patient seen earlier. Then there’s some yelling that happens in the hallway, a patient in the next room. The patient’s phone then goes off, with his wife texting wondering where he is and what happened. So he’s trying to talk to the doctor at the same time he’s responding to his wife. Then there’s all sorts of equipment beeping, sometimes two or three pieces of equipment, while the doctor is trying to talk to the patient.
Introducing the App at Stanford Medical’s Conference in April Using an HTC Vive
Question: How will you be distributing the training application?
Answer: We’re still deciding on some of the details. There’s a small conference here at Stanford in April and they want to demo the Proof of Concept there. For the conference, we’ll have an HTC Vive set up. I also have a couple more mobile headsets. I have the Samsung Gear VR, and the Cardboard, and some similar device agnostic headsets that you just throw a phone into, similar to the Cardboard. We haven’t decided on the final hardware, but we have access to all those right now.
Researching What Actually Distracts Doctors, Adding Hotspots to Educate
Question: And what type of feedback or learning are you trying to get by showing the VR videos?
Answer: Based on our initial meetings, there are two areas that doctors are interested in for this conference. First, to detect the number of distractions and things that are distracting, so students can become aware. This could be used for research purposes, to see how many of these different components actually distract the user in the video.
Second, adding hotspots and additional content in the video. That would help the learner to handle the distractions, or better understand the different distractions that are happening. That’s something that we’re meeting about next week.
Immersive Learning as a Substitute When First-Hand Experience Isn’t Possible
Question: What excites you about Virtual Reality in the medical field?
Answer: First-hand experience is vital to good medical training. When first-hand experience is not possible due to logistical reasons, immersive learning is the next best option. VR has the potential to fill that gap. It’s still a relatively new concept, so I’m most excited about the learning potential of VR and 360.
Thank you very much to Erfan Mojaddam and his team at Stanford Medicine! If you’d like to follow them on Twitter, visit https://twitter.com/stanfordedtech. And if you’d like to read more InstaVR Interviews, visit our Interviews homepage https://www.instavr.co/articles/category/interviews.