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Meeting Information


December 8, 2011


10 EST/15 GMT/16 CET

Attending: Rachel Ellaway, co-chair; Susan Albright, Matt Cownie, Valerie Smothers, Michael Steele, Luke Woodham

Agenda Items

1 Review minutes of last call

Valerie commented that JB sends regrets; he has a clinical emergency.

The minutes were approved.

2 Discuss response to certification query

Rachel explained that we are  exploring the viability and uptake of a certification process for technologies employing the standard. Valerie put out some enquiries to guauge the interest of our European colleagues in certifying their Virtual patient systems and paying for that certification.

Valerie summarized that she contacted Sören Huwendiek who leads development of the Campus system, Inga Hege who works with Casus, and Nabil Zary, who leads Web SP development. The response was luke warm. There were no strong commitments to certify those systems.

Rachel agreed there was no huge groundswell. Originally we had looked at AAMC as a driver. If MedEdPORTAL were to require Virtual Patient materials to be certified, that could drive certification. Subsequent conversations indicate they still value but do not have resources or initiatives to which this is attached. We have 5 or 6 systems that have implemented the standard, but it is not clear whether the certification process will be valid. Rachel asked for those that don’t have a system, how important would certification be to you?

Michael commented that they have been looking at implementing the MedBiquitous standard, and it would be expensive. He is trying to find lower cost options. From their perspective it has value only if they have a way to exchange with other platforms. They need to save the data in some format anyway. The standard provides a template. Beyond that, it would be nice to share as occurs within the mannequin based world. He likes the potential to collaborate but he has concerns as well.

Matt commented that it is a chicken and egg situation. You can’t share content without the standard. Until people do share, we won’t get traction. He would love to upload evip cases. They are talking to NHS,  butthey don’t get the concept of a player. Things are not at point where it is critical.

Rachel replied that from a process perspective, certified technology is an insurance policy. Currently interoperability around simulation is platform specific. She co-chairs a group at SSIH interested in taking that on. Certification makes the technology more attractive. Certification will only be viable if we have commitment.

Susan commented that she has an interest, but she is not sure if the institution will give her the money to put into it. She agreed to inviestigate.

Rachel asked at what point would MedBiquitous would be willing to spin up a certification process. Valerie commented that it would require 4 certified products for MedBiquitous to recoup its investment. The situation was discussed in the Executive Committee recently and they recommended waiting until there was greater need.

Rachel agreed that seems wise. She asked if UWE and Duke are looking to build new technologies.

Matt replied yes. They had piloted decision sim. They did use open labyrinth but didn’t like the authoring interface. At a later date they might be interested.

Michael commented that they would be interested if they implement. They are looking to see where it falls within the priorities. The quote is high for implementation. They are looking for more cost effective ways to proceed. If they get past that hurdle, they would look to proceed. They are using Virtual worlds to read write vp info .

Luke commented that nothing they have could be considered for certification. He will mention it to see if anything is likely to come up.

Rachel agreed to keep this on hold until we reach a critical mass point.

3 Discuss comments from David Burden

Valerie commented that on the last call they group had recommended contacting David Bruden to see if he had recommended additions to the standard. Luke added that this related to work he was doing in virtual worlds. David implemented many of these in his system using XtensibleInfo. It’s a case of suggesting for inclusion in the standard.

Michael commented that they are looking at using commercial game platform like unity, not something like second life. For first implementation, they will write in world actions in the 3d world. Arm will have actions assigned – take pulse, put on cuff, etc. From a design perspective, they can code actions, and educators can modify what to present in a case. That’s what they are looking to write in XML. They could use the extendable part in MVP data to store that data. He is undecided with regard to branching narrative. They are sandbox based, not linear. What kind of VP, avatar, room, etc will have to be in extensions.

Rachel commented that assumes equivalent technology.

Michael replied that there are no good standards for storing format. It’s typically binary. The backend server will read MVP and write it. That way they don’t have to transmit over the net. They are Interested in seeing where there are commonalities with other virtual world uses, best practices, and expanding the standard to include those constructs.

Luke commented that they have not been terribly active in this area lately. David Burden is the best person to talk to. He has continued to develop the pivote system.

Rachel commented that we have 2.5 years before renewal on the standard. That gives us time for 3d world issues. The ability to move to a standardized approach is limited.

Michael commented that IEEE had sponsored a Virtual Environment co-lab to investigate best --practices. He is hoping that will yield publications regarding how to solve issues of compatibility between virtual environments. There is another project looking to move objects from open sim to second life. That may yield something important. He is not sure who funding source will be. Michael offered to get names and contacts and send to Valerie.

4 Discuss vocabulary straw man

Valerie summarized that on the last call we discussed developing a straw man of a virtual patient vocabulary. No straw man was circulated.

Rachel added that a vocabulary would help others understand what we do. It would also document agreement on the similarities and differences. Branching / non-branching is one. The MVP Model has always been inclusive. But definitions might create a perimeter that keeps people from participating. She is not sure whether this group should take that forward.

Susan commented that it would be useful to have people understand in broad strokes what different kinds of virtual patients there are.  Maybe it belongs in the literature. She worries about the larger world wondering what is going on in the group.

Luke agreed with Susan. Anything that makes the concepts more understandable is helpful. The risk of isolating things outside of that would be something to avoid.

Rachel suggested that such a conceptual model would be better not coming from the working group to avoid misinterpretation.

The group agreed to move forward with members of the group developing a strawman but not issue as statement of the group.

5 Discuss meeting schedule

Rachel asked if the current schedule was useful.

Susan commented that there is not enough new stuff to warrant the current meeting schedule. Luke agreed.

The group agreed to have quarterly meetings through 2012 and the first half of 2013. In the second half of 2013, the schedule will ramp up again.

6 Open discussion


Action Items

  • Susan will explore Tufts interest in certification.
  • Michael will send Valerie contacts for the IEEE Virtual Environment co-lab.
  • Members of the working group will move forward with developing a vocabulary strawman, but it will not be presented as a statement from the group.
  • Valerie and Jody will work to establish a quarterly meeting schedule for the next 18 months.
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