SBIR Phase I: Safely Practicing Clinical Decision Making in a Realistic Virtual Training Environment

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 12/31/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Syandus, Inc.
760 Constitution Drive
Exton, PA 19341
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


This SBIR Phase I project will create a proof of concept prototype of a Virtual Clinical Training Environment to emulate in-person clinical training. This transformative initiative, built with game technology and clinical algorithms, will enable students to safely practice clinical decision making as part of their medical school curriculum without impacting actual patients. Schools can improve clinical competency across all medical training (medical, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, nurse, and allied healthcare students) without adding IT infrastructure or more staff. Clinician trainees interact with virtual clinicians and patients in lifelike scenarios where they make decisions and receive expert mentoring feedback as they work to solve the scenario. These virtual experiences will be developed with well-respected medical school partners, and housed in an innovative Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for medical schools to access via a cost-effective subscription model on mobile devices and computers. This proposed project will demonstrate technical and commercial feasibility by creating a proof of concept pilot with a prominent medical school collaborator. This platform will ultimately serve medical schools and teaching hospitals (over 400 in the United States alone), over 1900 nursing programs, and eventually hospital systems nationwide to improve healthcare outcomes and reduce errors - all without increasing their IT infrastructure or simulation center staff. This project will leverage unique, advanced software technology and engineering to create computer-based virtual clinical training environments that provide more authentic, complex, lifelike clinical training experiences on any device at any time. Delivering this level of functionality through a cost-effective SaaS model to mobile devices is uncharted territory. Enabling conversational 3D virtual characters to dynamically respond to a user?s decisions via underlying logic is complex, and the feasibility of doing so within the constraints of web browsers running on mobile devices is unknown. Syandus' unique approach combines the responsiveness of game engine technology, the clinical decision making of systems engineering, and the effectiveness of experience-driven learning methodologies. This project will demonstrate technical and commercial feasibility in three objectives. First, Syandus' simulation technology expertise will be leveraged to build a technical proof of concept with acceptable performance on mobile devices. Second, a collaboration with a prominent medical school will result in the first virtual clinical training prototype using the technical proof of concept. Third, the functional requirements to best integrate these virtual experiences into the curriculum will be addressed with medical school advisors. The resulting platform will allow future modules to be built with medical school collaborators to create exceptional virtual experiences that fill the most significant clinical reasoning gaps in training. Analytics will provide rich virtual decision data to learn how to improve learning effectiveness and outcomes.