Philips South Africa and the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) related to the high-tech Medical Simulation Lab that was inaugurated at UJ in September 2014.

To date, over 700 students have undergone hands-on training through accurate simulations of imitated medical emergency settings ranging from labour and delivery, to trauma and heart attacks. The Medical Simulation Lab has prepared students to operate under a pressurised work environment, ultimately enabling these students to gain crucial experience in a range of realistic clinical scenarios, before being faced with real patients and emergency situations.

The renewal of the MoU follows the national agenda discussion at the recent Presidential Health Summit, where Deputy President David Mabuza highlighted the importance of having skilled healthcare professionals to address issues related to healthcare access in the country, along with the need to improve diagnosis, treatment and care, especially in the area of telemedicine.

In support of ultimately bridging these gaps, the collaboration has introduced a new addition to the existing Medical Simulation Lab; the world’s first truly integrated tele-ultrasound solution – Philips Lumify with Reacts – while simultaneously using the occasion to launch the system in the South African market.

Lumify, designed for emergency departments and urgent care centres, as well as other clinical settings, is a new way of delivering ultrasound technology to healthcare providers and their patients; offering high-quality imaging from a compatible smart device connected to a Philips ultrasound transducer.

The integrated app-based, portable-ultrasound system breaks down barriers for point-of-care providers – from clinicians, teaching institutions, medical students and residents to emergency care personnel, and disaster relief organisations – by offering advanced, high-quality ultrasound technology wherever care is needed.

“We are delighted that our longstanding partnership with Philips continues, thus ensuring that modern cutting edge products, such as Lumify, continue to be available to students in our Simulation Lab environment. 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, which may assist in speeding up the diagnosis process and inform clinical decision making,” said (Acting) Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Shahed Nalla.

The Lumify point-of-care ultrasound system is further enhanced with the Reacts platform that gives it its tele-medicine capability, allowing real-time remote collaboration with experts during an ultrasound examination, no matter the distance. This means, a professor can go on virtual ultrasound rounds with students, helping them learn anatomy and probe positioning quickly and efficiently, unrestricted by location.

The Lumify Reacts platform connects clinicians around the globe in real-time by turning a compatible smart device into an integrated tele-ultrasound solution, combining two-way audio-visual calls with live ultrasound streaming.

“Our collaboration with UJ has already made a big contribution to the local healthcare needs; we are transforming healthcare in South Africa by enhancing the individual performance of the next generation of healthcare professionals,” said CEO at Philips Africa, Jasper Westerink.

“Not only has the Medical Simulation Lab improved the clinical competencies of UJ’s health sciences graduates, but it has also been utilised for training of paramedics and medical specialists from outside the University. UJ has proved to be the ideal partner to bring this concept to life, and we now look forward to the next phase of continued collaboration and research related to new technologies in the emergency care environment,” continued Westerink.

The new technology that is now incorporated into the Medical Simulation Lab will contribute to simulating the entire clinical process; allowing students to track progress of a single patient through the various wards in an emergency situation – pre-hospital emergency care, emergency department (for casualty), general ward and an intensive care unit (ICU).

“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,” said Head of the Department of Emergency Medical Care at UJ, Prof Craig Lambert.

“As a company focused on innovations in the healthcare sector, Philips has continued to play an integral part in training our students on the latest technology in healthcare, and we look forward to continue this long term partnership to the benefit of our facility specifically, and South African healthcare in general,” concluded Prof Lambert.

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