Hospital health institute unveils virtual body tour machine

A NEW touch-screen table that provides 3D virtual journeys through the human body will make medical teaching at the new hospital in Birtinya more engaging for students.

The Sunshine Coast Health Institute, based at the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital, takes its first students next week, and unveiled the new facility on Tuesday.

Part of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital, SCHI is a unique educational and research partnership between the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, TAFE Queensland East Coast, the University of Sunshine Coast and a medical school.

SCHI's anatomage table enables educators and students to interactively explore human anatomy, using three-dimensional, life-sized representations of body structures and organs.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said teaching and research would be integral to the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

"SCHI is one of the first parts of the new hospital to open its doors, with the initial cohort of TAFE nursing students commencing their learning journey from next week," Mr Dick said.

"This unique facility enables the next generation of health professionals to receive state-of-the-art training right here on the Sunshine Coast."


The institute's resources also include a 370-seat auditorium, 150-seat lecture theatre, a library, e-learning labs, clinical research labs and simulation suites that are exact replicas of hospital rooms such as an operating theatre, birthing room, intensive care bedroom and an emergency resuscitation bay.

"When it opens in April, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital will grow into a centre of excellence in healthcare, promising better outcomes for patients and the community.

"SCHI will play a crucial role in that drive for excellence by providing a collaborative platform to develop and improve the skills and knowledge of our doctors, nurses and other health professionals," Mr Dick said.

SCHI laboratory operations manager Samantha Cave said the anatomage table placed an innovative way to learn about the human body at the fingertips of students and educators. 

"It's like being able to perform a virtual operation or autopsy," she said.

"Users can choose any part of the male or female anatomy and manipulate the images to show how the human body is constructed, and how the body's systems and organs integrate with each other.

"The images can be cut or sectioned at any point to reveal details of the internal structures, even down to small nerves and blood vessels, but unlike a real procedure, any cuts can be instantly undone.

"Educators can formulate and stage practical tests and quizzes with the table to monitor the progress of their students' learning.

"The anatomage table can be used to teach surgical procedures, and has applications in areas such as radiology, surgical case review and medical research."

Topics:  health health service medical school sunshine coast university hospital

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