UJ-Philips partnership is the right medicine for students

The renewed partnership between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and health technology company Philips will improve medical training and students’ skills after graduation.

The two have signed a renewed memorandum of understanding for use of Philips’ latest technology, Lumify with Reacts, in lecture rooms.

Lumify works by turning any compatible smartphone or tablet device into a tele-ultrasound device, which can combine two-way audio-visual calls with live ultrasound streaming.

According to the company, the technology promises to bring about “tele-medicine capability, allowing real-time remote collaboration with experts during an ultrasound examination, no matter the distance”.

Acting executive dean of the faculty of health sciences at UJ, professor Shahed Nalla, said: “Lumify is a novel product that will allow health science students from a number of different professions to see first-hand the advantages of being able to scan and share medical images.

“This may assist in speeding up the diagnosis process and inform clinical decision making.”

This means a professor or another professional can carry out virtual ultrasound rounds with students, helping them learn anatomy and probing positions quickly and efficiently wherever they are in the world.

Final-year student Chrida Nkuna said the first phase of the partnership between the technology giant and the university in 2014 had already given students a step up.

“Going into the hospitals, doctors are shocked that we know how to use the equipment.

“It’s something that we’ve been exposed to while we are studying. We go out there with confidence because we know how to use it. So when you are treating a patient, equipment is the last thing you need to worry about because you are already familiar with it.”

Philips Africa CEO Jasper Westerink said: “Not only has the Medical Simulation Laboratory improved the clinical competencies of UJ’s health sciences graduates, it has also been utilised for the training of paramedics and medical specialists from outside the university.

“UJ has proved to be the ideal partner to bring this concept to life.

“We now look forward to the next phase of continued collaboration and research related to new technologies in the emergency care environment.”

Head of the department of emergency medical care at UJ, professor Craig Lambert, added: “It is important for us at UJ that our health science students demonstrate sound clinical reasoning and mastery of core psychomotor skills in the simulated environment before they are sent to work and learn in the authentic clinical setting where they will encounter real patients.”

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