Wednesday, August 11, 2010

IEEE Transactions on Haptics - Special Issue on Haptics in Medicine and Clinical Skill Acquisition

The clinical skills of medical professionals rely strongly on the sense of touch, combined with anatomical and diagnostic knowledge. Haptic exploratory procedures allow the expert to detect anomalies via gross and fine palpation, squeezing, and contour following. Haptic feedback is also key to medical interventions, for example when an anesthetist inserts an epidural needle, a surgeon makes an incision, a dental surgeon drills into a carious lesion, or a veterinarian sutures a wound. Yet current trends in medical technology and training methods involve less haptic feedback to clinicians and trainees. For example, minimally invasive surgery removes the direct contact between the patient and clinician that gives rise to natural haptic feedback. In addition, computer-based simulations are being used to provide objective performance evaluations and make training more efficient. The science and technology of haptics thus has great potential to affect the performance of medical procedures and learning of clinical skills. This special issue is about understanding the role of touch in medicine and clinical skill acquisition. Topics of interest include:

1. Haptic environment properties andhuman haptic perception as relevant to medical examinations and procedures: Characterization of the nature of haptic information, and how it is perceived, is necessary to understand how medical professionals use haptics to enable learning and achieve high levels of performance. Papers that explore haptic models of the patient, as well as perceptual or behavioral aspects of the haptic modality relevant to medical examinations and procedures, are solicited.

2. Haptic systems and the role of haptics in training and evaluating clinical skills: Haptic simulators address a growing need for effective training and evaluation of clinical skills. Such simulators can be applied in a wide variety of medical professions and disciplines, including surgery, interventional radiology, anaesthesiology, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and the allied health professions. These simulators rely on both technology development (devices, software, and systems) and an understanding of how humans use haptic feedback to perform established clinical skills or learn novel skills. Papers that address simulator development and/or evaluation from these perspectives are solicited.

3. Using haptics to improve the performance of medical interventions: Current trends in minimally invasive surgery (especially robot-assisted surgery) remove direct contact between the patient and the clinician. In addition, some medical interventions, such as percutaneous (e.g., needle- based) therapies, inherently provide little or confounded haptic feedback to the clinician. Bilateral teleoperators, tactile sensing/display devices, sensory substitutions systems, and other methods to enhance haptic feedback to a clinician could improve the performance of interventions. Papers that address technological approaches and their evaluation, as well as how humans use haptics (natural or with artificial haptic feedback) to accomplish medical tasks with better performance are solicited. Home Pages/TOH/PDF/cfp_toh_hmcsa.pdf