Dr. Tjorvi Perry and a team of faculty in the Department of Anesthesiology have recently developed and published mobile apps to help learners visualize and understand transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography. The work was done in collaboration with the Visible HeartⓇ Laboratories, and funding was provided by the Dean’s Grant as part of a more extensive program to supplement traditional learning methods. 

Reading a textbook and highlighting key points suits some individuals, while others may find their optimal learning experience through watching a video or using VR technology. “There are so many ways to learn,” shared Dr. Perry. “Incoming students are learning a lot from audio-visual sources. In the time that a faculty member gives a 45-minute talk, incoming generations can watch 15 different videos and possibly learn what that person is saying in less time.” 

Mobile applications and virtual technologies are not replacements for didactic teaching methods. However, they can provide a learner-centered space for investigation and exploration. Moreover, these alternative learning methods reflect incoming students' changing preferences and keep pace with rapidly evolving technology. Dr. Perry added, “We want to meet the needs of the learner rather than make the learner meet our needs. If you do that, then the learning space is wide open to innovate.” 

One of the next steps in this project will be to bring this technology closer to the perioperative space and the operating room. “We hope to bring the simulated environment closer to the real environment,” shared Dr. Perry. “We wonder if we make this our culture, to practice or warm-up ahead of the actual surgery, will this lead to improved outcomes over time.” Another consideration is whether this technology increases doctors' confidence in performing procedures. 

Download the apps for free on Apple: UMN TEEUMN TTE, and UMN Heart, and on Android: UMN TEEUMN TTE, and UMN Heart.