SMARTHANDS: USE OF DIGITAL REALITIES FOR MANUAL MEDICINE TRAINING
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As digitalization continues to advance, and especially in the current time of a global pandemic, the idea of digital education and training plays an increasingly important role. If we look at medical professions, especially those who work directly with patients‘ bodies, the safety measures in the course of the current pandemic pose a challenge for education and training. An essential part of the education and training of physiotherapists, for example, is to refine one’s sense of touch and palpation skills, and to learn different manipulation techniques and the optimal pressure required for them. To master the skills, physiotherapists need to practice intensively, which is, however, difficult to do under the current circumstances. Traditional ways of learning in this domain on the other side include extensive theoretical lecturing and confine practical sessions where a small group of students first watch an instructor showcasing techniques and then take turns in pairs. While there is some significant progress in other areas of healthcare education (e.g., haptic simulators for surgery), the domain of manual medicine heavily relies on traditional practices. This is not the last due to the nature of the learning task: highly procedural and motor learning. For those reasons, the question arises as to how the education and training of physiotherapists can be optimally digitalized.