The Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Colombia

Colombian university scales up use of digital technology within medical and healthcare education

The Fundación Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud (FUCS) is an institution for higher education in Bogotá, Colombia, that boasts 45 years’ experience of training healthcare sector professionals. With more than 3,600 undergraduates and postgraduates, it’s the only university in Colombia with two accredited university hospitals able to provide medical students with their own practice settings.

Back in 2017, FUCS implemented Sectra’s visualization table to complement its morphology and anatomy education for basic sciences students. We talked to Gerly David Escalante Contreras, a human morphology teacher at the university’s Institute of Basic Sciences. As a researcher in FUCS’ two research groups, Basic Health Sciences and Perspectives of Healthcare, we wanted to hear his thoughts on this innovative addition to medical education.

We soon realized that this type of innovation was a real benefit to both teachers and students.

Gerly David Escalante Contreras, human morphology teacher at FUCS

Sectra: FUCS started to use the first Sectra Table in 2017. What was the main initiative behind this decision?

David: We wanted an additional tool in the dissection lab to minimize the need for real-life cadavers. The Sectra Table offered a new methodology that we found interesting. Three teachers drove the project initially, and with the full support of the university, we were allowed to really get to know the product well to take full advantage of the solution. We started with smaller groups of around 15 students, and slowly expanded into larger groups and additional courses.

What does the complete set-up look like today?

We soon realized that this type of innovation was a real benefit to both teachers and students. Therefore, we decided to scale up in 2018 and expanded into histology with the introduction of a second table. Then in 2019, a third table was placed in one of the hospitals where postgraduates, already used to a more clinical environment, now get to reap the benefits of the solution by importing own cases for review.

Today, it is becoming increasingly popular. I frequently get requests to present cases on the Sectra Table, both inside and outside the university. I have become the first point of call for my peers, and it is very exciting to see new practice areas such as abdominal surgery specialization, nursing training, and cosmetic plastic surgery.

Together with the Sectra Table, it is the best possible combination—remote access at home and table revisions on campus.

Gerly David Escalante Contreras, human morphology teacher at FUCS

In your opinion, what are the benefits of using Sectra’s solution for medical education?

For me as a teacher, it is without a doubt the possibility to present real-life patient images to my students, which is the type of images that they will see throughout their professional life. What further helps me as a teacher are the cases provided by Monash University that can be found in the Sectra library. Students really like the color images as well as the videos.

An important feature is real-time teaching, which we perform using Sectra Education Portal. This advanced, view-sharing aspect allows me to share a case with my students that they open on their devices so that they can follow my teaching in real time. The students also enjoy this interaction as well as the on-demand accessibility. Together with the Sectra Table, it is the best possible combination—remote access at home and table revisions on campus.

This is a valuable and extremely important complement to a dissection lab.

Gerly David Escalante Contreras, human morphology teacher at FUCS

Lastly, what does the future look like for FUCS?

My experience with Sectra has been very positive. I feel reassured that if I have an issue or a doubt, Sectra will solve it. Now that the university is expanding, the Institute of Basic Sciences will of course still have a dissection lab on the new campus. But there will also be three classrooms dedicated to teaching virtual morphology, each equipped with a Sectra Table. This is a valuable and extremely important complement to a dissection lab. Undergraduates and postgraduates will continue to have access to Sectra Education Portal. This cloud-based solution gives the students the opportunity to go home and do their homework on their own computers. Further revisions are then possible at a Sectra Table on campus.

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