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VMASC Researchers to Demonstrate Training Tool at International Conference

Two researchers from Old Dominion University's Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) will present their immersive simulation patient blood management training tool at a European medical conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, this month.

John Sokolowski, VMASC executive director, and Catherine Banks, research associate professor at the center, will demonstrate their Patient Blood Management (PBM) simulation training tool at the 13th Annual Network for Advancement of Transfusion Alternatives (NATA) Symposium, to be held April 12-13.

NATA is an international network of medical practitioners and researchers whose primary goal is to provide education in the field of transfusion medicine, with a specific focus on transfusion alternatives. That makes the simulation developed by the VMASC researchers, in collaboration with medical experts in the surgical blood management field from Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey, pertinent to the symposium.

PBM offers a clinical approach to patient safety aimed at improving patient outcomes by minimizing or eliminating blood transfusions. The simulation training tool, using actual patient cases, was developed to train or newly educate physicians via interactive, immersive instruction focusing on blood management decision making.

The importance of this development stems from the mounting evidence of issues surrounding blood transfusion practice such as potential negative impact on patient safety and outcomes, the challenges of increasing cost to acquire and transfuse blood and the limited supply of blood products, Sokolowski explained. The training tool he helped develop provides a way to mitigate these issues through immersive simulation training, built upon the fundamental principles of PBM.

Significantly, VMASC is the NATA Symposium's only invited presenter with strictly engineering research and development credentials.

The VMASC training simulation has also helped create a learning opportunity in ODU's College of Business and Public Administration. An M.B.A. class taught by Mike Provance, assistant professor of business management, spent an entire semester last fall developing a business plan and commercial applications for the PBM simulation tool. Provance's students did an analysis of the market, discovering that no such product existed in commercial form. They costed it, developed a pricing analysis and a selling model, and looked at avenues for accessing the seed funding such a venture would require.

Commercial opportunities for the PBM simulation training tool are now being explored.

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