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Haptic modules for palpatory diagnosis training of medical students


We have developed and evaluated a novel tool based on haptics and virtual reality technology for augmenting the teaching of palpatory diagnosis. This novel tool can act as an automated expert and an animated textbook to illuminate palpatory diagnosis concepts by touch on a laptop PC and by using affordable haptic interfaces that can be housed in a medical student resource library. It can be used for unlimited student practice for improving skills from Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine laboratory and also as a repeatable and objective measure of palpatory skill to track student progress. The system was evaluated by 22 osteopathic medical students (16 first- and 6 second-year). The majority of the participating students (>90.9 %) thought that future practice with the system may help them develop their palpatory skills. The majority (>77.3 %) of the students also thought that the instructions on the module screens were clear. When the students were asked about the user interface, most of the students (>86.4 %) responded that it was clear and easy to interpret. Evaluation results also showed that when the students were asked whether they would like to use the modules in the future for training at least 90.9 % of them answered “Yes” or “Maybe.” The achievement of purpose ratings for individual modules changed between 6.27 and 8.82 on a 10-point scale. This project has the potential to be extended from osteopathic medicine to allopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic schools.

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Correspondence to Robert L. Williams II.

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Karadogan, E., Williams, R.L. Haptic modules for palpatory diagnosis training of medical students. Virtual Reality 17, 45–58 (2013).

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  • Haptic modules
  • Haptic medical simulation
  • Medical education
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Palpatory diagnosis