Patient safety focus of virtual clean room for training pharmacists

  • January 1, 2010
  • Science Highlights

Pharmacy clean rooms and proper clean room procedures to ensure that chemotherapy and direct-to-the-bloodstream intravenous treatments remain contamination free are vital to patient safety, all the more so with the rise of super bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

But clean rooms are in short supply, making it difficult for pharmacy students to amass training time. ITaP worked with Purdue’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences to create a solution: a 3-D, immersive virtual pharmacy clean room that gives pharmacists-in-training plenty of practice, in the same way pilots now practice extensively in immersive flight simulators.

The clean room simulator runs in a multiwall immersive environment—think the holodeck from the Starship Enterprise—at ITaP’s Envision Center for Data Perceptualization. It also will work on wall-sized displays, portable display systems, and desktop and laptop computers. The Envision Center uses 3-D glasses and a wireless controller, something like a Nintendo Wii’s, to put users in the middle of the virtual world and allow them to navigate and manipulate it. Head-tracking adjusts the view as a user looks around and moves through the environment.

The virtual clean room was modeled from hundreds of digital photos of actual hospital clean rooms and it is detailed down to the labels on the medicine bottles. It even includes ambient sound recorded in real clean rooms.

Pharmacy students dress in sterile garb when using the virtual clean room to further enhance their feel for the real thing. The simulation also includes realistic flaws, like a soft drink can in a medicine refrigerator. This is designed to teach proper clean-room procedures by having students identify improper items incorporated in the virtual environment.

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Originally posted: July 1, 2014 3:29pm EDT