Students demonstrate tool to improve patient care

They were separated by nearly 500 miles and a near eight-hour drive.

On Oct. 2, nursing and dental hygiene students in Scottsbluff and Omaha were together for the first time live, in real-time, through Interactive Digital iWalls.

Nursing and dental hygiene students demonstrated to faculty, staff, students and special guests the potential of how new technology can overcome time and distance barriers to learn in a more effective and engaging way.

Students took turns sharing an interprofessional case study to teach a mock patient newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes the importance of insulin in treating her diabetes, how to administer an insulin shot and the connection between diabetes and periodontal disease.

Future home

The future home of iEXCELâ„  is the 192,000-square-foot Dr. Edwin Davis & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning, an interprofessional simulation center scheduled to open in November 2018 in Omaha. The $118.9 million center will feature the world’s most advanced clinical simulation technology with the intent to propel health care education into the next generation using virtual and augmented reality.

The 2-D curved iWalls, located at the UNMC College of Nursing West Nebraska Division in Scottsbluff and at the Sorrell Center on the UNMC Omaha campus, are eight-feet-tall “walls,” that can simultaneously project all kinds of information and visuals like a giant computer tablet.

Students presented information through videos, photos and graphics related to the case study. The simultaneous interaction with the iWall was previously not possible with other distance education technology. Students in each location could see each other, as well as the information each was sharing on the iWall.

The iWall enables literally hundreds of participants to interact simultaneously from local or remote locations.

“Today is a celebration to see firsthand how our iEXCEL project will enhance learning and transform the way health care education will occur not only here, but across the country,” said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., UNMC chancellor. “We will be a model for transformation in health care education.

“It’s yet another tremendous public-private partnership project between government, business and private citizens and organizations. It demonstrates the magic that can happen. Today we demonstrated that we can bridge our 500-mile-wide campus,” he said.

Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing, emceed the event. “It’s exciting to know we are pioneering something so special,” she said. “The Scottsbluff campus is excited to have iEXCEL’s first iWall outside of Omaha. This has a vital impact on patient safety.”

Jason Brisbin, UNMC College of Dentistry dental hygiene student, was in Omaha for the demonstration. “It’s hard to learn sitting down. When we’re working on the iWall, it’s much more engaging,” he said. “When I heard, ‘500-mile campus,’ it didn’t make much sense to me until now. This keeps everyone engaged.”

An evening program included another demonstration and simultaneous ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Scottsbluff and Omaha.