Veterinary students who once huddled together to observe a surgeon's intricate moves now have another learning option at the University of Florida. There, AMX technology allows students near and far to have a bird's eye view of every small step of a procedure.
"The sterile field around a patient is small, and it requires sterile clothing," explained John Haven, director of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the university in Gainesville, Fla. "Using in-light cameras, in room pan tilt and zoom cameras, and microphones allows more students to see and hear the procedure. This saves money and reduces disposable supplies that would have been used for scrub-ins."
The innovations in the 100,000-square-foot addition to the Small Animal Hospital, which had been 25,000 square feet, earned the school the AMX Innovation New Learning Space Award. The project also earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation for its green initiatives. "Other vet schools have dabbled with AV problem-solving technologies, but nobody's really jumped in with both feet," Haven said. "We did."
The project features DVX 2100s in classrooms and touch panels throughout the building so feeds from 10 operating rooms can reach classrooms, round rooms, conference rooms and specialty observation suites. Students and teachers can collaborate from different locations during a procedure, and supporting documentation can be shared when explaining a decision. "When you're doing an orthopedic procedure, the doctor can pull up the CAT scan image on one monitor, and show students what he is doing with the other monitor and explain why," Haven said.
'Other vet schools have dabbled with AV problem-solving technologies, but nobody's really jumped in with both feet. We did.'—John Haven, College of Veterinary Medicine
"The technology also allows cross-service collaboration," Haven added. "A case may have come through the emergency service and gone to surgery. The emergency service can plug in to follow the case, which contributes to learning. And if the procedure is streamed to iTunes, surgeons can create a library of procedures for students and residents to review endless times before they even go in the operating room, which enhances the learning experience, and makes them more ready to contribute."
The video and audio feeds can be sent virtually anywhere thru a conference IP address. Collaborating with colleagues in other countries introduces Florida students to diseases they might not normally see, and it allows foreign colleagues to benefit from the state-of-the-art facility in Florida.
The AMX system also allows a time-crunched specialist to teach classes in different locations—even different schools—at the same time. The school chose AMX technology on the recommendation of audiovisual consultant Steve Stripling, from the UF Orthopedics Institute, who liked the cost-effective, scalable options offered. Stripling and the school's Xerox staff designed the space after consulting with veterinary school representatives. The addition was occupied in November, and the AMX system was installed through this summer.
Sharing the technology with the masses was a non-issue. "Training was minimal because the magic happens behind the scenes," Haven said. "It's a fairly intuitive interface." The AMX touch screen allows the user to click on a particular camera or computer, select digital or analog source and decide where the image should go—a conference room, specialty suite, etc.
The $50,000 in AMX technology and equipment that comes with the award will be used to update other areas, perhaps retrofitting three classrooms and adding internal and external conferencing, Haven said.