SBIR Phase I: Novel Tactile Online Nursing Trainer for Clinical Breast Exams

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Mammatech Corporation
930 NW 8TH AVE
Gainesville, FL 32601
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I Project introduces a novel, tactile training technology that produces skilled clinical breast examinations (CBEs). Clinical breast examination is identified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as one of only two primary breast cancer screening modalities, yet nurses report having a lack of knowledge, skill and confidence in their CBE skills. The project?s computer assisted CBE simulator combines tactually accurate breast simulations with an intelligent, skill-based tactile training platform and online distance learning technology. The program rapidly and significantly increases breast examination skills through machine guided manual practice on the tactually accurate breast models that contain small, hidden simulated lesions. It quantifies performance levels and initiates remedial practice until criterion standards of performance are achieved. The result of this project would provide a modern, easily reproducible technology to rapidly expand the corps of skilled nurses who can perform quality-standard breast examinations. The specific aim of Phase l is to demonstrate the rapid acquisition of verifiable CBE knowledge and skill among nursing students and practitioners. The broad impact of this project is to modernize our antique but critical examination practices to enable nurses to accurately and confidently perform clinical breast examinations. The result could measurably improve U.S. breast cancer screening, a major benefit for women. The proposed technology has great commercial potential because no mass training alternative exists and it could be rapidly expanded to improve breast cancer screening in the U.S. The need for improved early detection of breast cancer and reduced false positives is widely acknowledged and would represent a dramatic, improvement in current breast cancer screening outcomes. This first phase of the project will lead to improved CBE skills among nursing staff and students. There is ample justification for this technology-based CBE training approach as breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women and is the second largest cause of death from cancer. Because early detection remains positively associated with survival, accurate and early breast cancer detection is at the key to reducing mortality from this disease.