April 26, 2023By Teresa Gore

NeedleTrainer: Realistic, Effective and Safe Ultrasound-Guided Needling Simulator from Intelligent Ultrasound

Intelligent Ultrasound has an ultrasound-guided needling simulator to teach multiple specialties from radiology to anesthesia how to perform safe and effective needling with clinical simulation. Practical skill development requires practice of not just probe manipulation but needle orientation, something difficult to learn on live patients. Ultrasound phantoms provide safe practice but are not realistic and cadavers are expensive and have limited reusability. NeedleTrainer provides an all-in-one education solution to teach ultrasound-guided needling safely and effectively, through non-invasive needle insertion in real-time scanning on a human participant. This HealthySimulation.com article will explore the innovative NeedleTrainer from Intelligent Ultrasound.

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NeedleTrainer is the first ultrasound simulator to use a retractable needle and virtual image overlays to simulate needling non-invasively on a live participant using an authentic live ultrasound scan. This medical simulator enables trainees to develop hand-eye coordination, optimum position of the patient and probe, and accuracy in ultrasound-guided interventional procedures in a realistic clinical environment with minimal risk. Intelligent Ultrasound’s NeedleTrainer is a fully comprehensive educational experience.

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Clinical simulation provides healthcare professionals and professional students with the opportunity to practice in a safe, controlled environment to learn the impact of their actions on patient care and outcomes. NeedleTrainer allows educators to customize the virtual needle simulation in accordance with the established procedure and specialty requirements. The newest generation encompasses a GE Healthcare Vscan Air to provide an all-in-one education solution for any medical education program to teach ultrasound-guided needling to adapt new curriculum requirements to learn these skills without an impact on clinical hours or patient safety.

Metrics for Proficiency of Needle Probe Coordination

The “classroom-to-clinic” learning package includes the NeedleTrainer Plus system that feature AI that highlights 10 x “Plan A” peripheral nerve blocks, and ScanNav Anatomy Peripheral Nerve Block (PNB). NeedleTrainer allows for visualization and measurements to provide objective quantitative metrics for needle probe alignment, to aid assessment in proficiency and competence of needle probe coordination as measured by time elapsed (s) and tip in view (%).

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Shared below are testimonials from current clinical simulation users of the NeedleTrainer who attest to its meaningful support of ultrasound-guided needling training.

University College London Hospital Feedback on NeedleTrainer

Customers are enthusiastic and embrace the learning opportunities to better train their learners through NeedleTrainer. The University College London Hospital (UCLH) has invested in Intelligent Ultrasound’s NeedleTrainer and ScanNav Anatomy , to expand training opportunities for regional anesthesia. UCLH invested in Intelligent Ultrasound’s “classroom-to-clinic” package, to further enhance the pathway to learn regional anesthesia.

Feedback on NeedleTrainer by UCLH:

“Something like NeedleTrainer offers the opportunity to do a block in a protected safe environment and therefore maximises the opportunities that we can get in terms of getting experience. Regional anaesthesia is something that we build on as we go up in our training and doing those first blocks can be quite daunting, and so something like NeedleTrainer offers the opportunity to do a block in a protected safe environment and therefore maximises the opportunities that we can get in terms of getting experience in our needling technique and performing these blocks successfully.” – Dr Zeshan Bhatti

“Up till now there hasn’t really been any way we can simulate, outside of phantoms, on real patients, and that is probably where I think the strength of NeedleTrainer comes in. I can show somebody a block, they can practise and then I can perform the block and we get multiple training outcomes from each block that we do.”…”They can use ScanNav Anatomy PNB to give them a bit of confidence that they are identifying anatomy that they think they are.”…” </i>the more that we can do of this, the more we are going to be able to produce people that are confident by the end of training.” – Dr Simeon West, MBChB FRCA

Health Education and Improvement Wales Feedback on NeedleTrainer

Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) has invested in Intelligent Ultrasound’s NeedleTrainer. The platform was selected to help drive curriculum changes and provide more educational opportunities for trainees, safely. A special Health Authority within NHS Wales, HEIW’s responsibilities include postgraduate education of all junior doctors in Wales. Based on a significant change to the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ national training curriculum in August 2021, HEIW and the Welsh School of Anaesthesia moved to address the increased emphasis placed on ultrasound-guided regional anaesthesia (UGRA). HEIW’s investment in NeedleTrainer will allow them to roll out a consistent education programme, which meets the 2021 curriculum key learning objectives, to over 260 anaesthetic trainees across 12 hospitals in Wales.

Dr Sarah Harries, Head of School for Anaesthesia and HEIW Associate Dean, commented on NeedleTrainer:

“While training and early clinical practice remained safe, as the trainee was always closely supervised, there were risks of needle misplacement leading to nerve damage, pneumothorax, or vascular puncture. We needed a learning solution that would allow trainees to practice and develop this skill prior to injecting a real patient, minimising risks. NeedleTrainer is a simulation device that inexperienced trainees can use to develop the essential needle-probe coordination required to ensure needle tip visualisation and safe clinical practice.

Using human models allows trainees to learn about how to position the patient, and practice on different sides of the body, as well as different bodies, which all appear different under ultrasound. NeedleTrainer will allow students to practice in a highly supervised environment, with no risk, before moving to a patient-facing environment and then independent practice. The platform will allow us to ensure all Welsh trainees have equitable access to consistent expert regional anaesthesia teaching, which meets curriculum requirements.

More About Intelligent Ultrasound

Intelligent Ultrasound’s vision is to make clinical diagnostic ultrasound easier to learn and simpler to use. The company provides clinicians with real-time support from the classroom to the clinic with world-class high-fidelity simulators to train clinicians in the classroom, and state-of-the-art AI image analysis software to support and guide them in the clinic.

This classroom-to-clinic approach reflects the company’s belief of support, guidance, and expedite ultrasound scanning, and can make ultrasound more accessible to all medical professionals. Intelligent Ultrasound prides itself on its innovative approach to technology and works closely with the company’s clinical advisory group, to ensure they’re at the forefront of technological advances.

Learn More About the NeedleTrainer from
Intelligent Ultrasound

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