HumanInsight Feasibility of Tele-Training to Acquire Sublingual Microcirculatory Images
ATS Sch. 2021 Nov 30;3(1):99-111. doi: 10.34197/ats-scholar.2021-0078OC. eCollection 2022 Mar.
BACKGROUND: Recent advances in device technology and image analysis software used to assess the sublingual microcirculation have expanded clinicians' understanding of hemodynamics beyond assessments of blood pressure and end-organ function to provide unique insight into blood flow at the tissue level. Similarly, significant advances in virtual education and telemedicine have transpired recently, especially during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, the training of clinicians to acquire microcirculation images continues to rely on in-person instruction, which can be limited by available local expertise and resources, as well as geographic access to instructors.
OBJECTIVE: Our project aimed to test the feasibility of deploying an online curriculum in combination with tele-guidance versus an in-person guided approach to instruct novices to understand basic principle of microcirculatory function and to acquire sublingual microcirculatory images.
METHODS: After participating in brief didactics, 14 participants were divided into two groups to acquire microcirculatory images on a healthy volunteer. Each participant either 1) obtained images after an in-person demonstration or 2) obtained images with tele-guidance by using FaceTime technology. We recorded individual microcirculation quality scores, necessary time to acquire each image, percentage of correct theoretical questions on assessments, participant satisfaction with the curriculum, and participants' degree of confidence with image acquisition.
RESULTS: Participants' image quality scores (14.7 vs. 23.6, P = 0.3) and time to acquire images (191.2 vs. 199.4 s) did not significantly differ. In addition, participants' scores on theoretical knowledge assessments improved over the course of training (19.0% vs. 54.8%, P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: This feasibility study provides a novel framework for how to successfully deploy asynchronous education and telemedicine to direct novices to acquire sublingual microcirculatory images. Using technological advances to teach microcirculation may enhance wide-scale adoption of a promising clinical monitoring tool for critically ill patients.
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