High-Fidelity Physical Examination Model

Opportunity

Available for Licensing and Collaboration

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending: US 2017/0046985 A1

Inventors

​Dean A Hendrickson
Grahm J Hendrickson
Jessica L Sullivan
Anura P Jayasumana
Bradley S Evans
Yiyu Feng

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a high-fidelity physical examination model (PE Model) to allow medical personnel to accurately identify the intra/abdominal structures that they are palpating during training exercises. The PE model is comprised of an internal plastic skeleton, silicone based organs, silicone soft tissues, and electronic components that allow haptic feedback via sensors in the integral intra-abdominal organs and structures that are connected to a computer, either wired or wirelessly allowing personnel to validate what they believe they are feeling. Actuators integrated to the PE model allow the change of organ characteristics, via a computer, to simulate different conditions. Additionally, it allows an instructor to assess a student’s ability to accurately identify both normal and abnormal structures.

Licensing Director

Steve Foster
Steve.Foster@colostate.edu
970-491-7100

Reference No.: 14-095

Background

​Palpation is a vital medical technique providing a rapid health assessment of the major organs of patients, such as canines, felines, humans, or other animals. Palpation generally involves a healthcare professional applying her fingers or hands to a surface of the patient’s body to physically examine a condition of an underlying organ. Such a physical examination provides information regarding the health of a patient that visual inspection alone cannot. For example, palpation indicates skin temperature, skin moisture, organ health, internal swelling, deformations, tumors, and/or the like.

Medical techniques are most effectively learned heuristically through physical practice on live patients or in a simulated environment. Using a live patient for training, however, frequently induces discomfort in the patient, particularly where the technique is practiced by a large number of students consecutively. For example, canine palpation techniques may be learned using a live canine, and over the course of multiple students practicing the technique, the canine often becomes agitated and/or sore.

Conventional palpation models replicate the internal organ structure of a live patient, while permitting the practice of palpation techniques an unlimited number of times by students. However, such models fail to decipher between an accurate and an inaccurate or otherwise imprecise performance of palpation techniques. Many students are unconfident in their palpation skills and often resort to memorizing a script of what to say and generally where to feel on a model to pass an examination.

Moreover, accurate palpation is performed with an application of force necessary to assess the health of internal organs without inducing discomfort in a patient. Conventional models fail to measure or otherwise provide an indication of the level of force applied by a student during palpation. An instructor thus cannot positively establish whether a student successfully learned palpation or know for sure what the student is actually feeling during a palpation.

Benefits
  • Instrumented with electronic and mechanical sensors and actuators
  • Integrated with computer software/hardware
  • Enables real-time feedback
  • Includes simulations of a variety of different organ abnormalities for palpation
Applications
  • All areas of medicine wherein physical examination using palpation is necessary – including human, nursing, veterinary, and military

Last updated: June 2020

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