By Karen Hunt, Office of Research

WholeLogic, Inc., a startup company, has received a license for Stage III simulation technology developed by Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine associate professor RD Keegan, allowing the technology to become commercialized for use in veterinary education.

Stage III is a hybrid simulation technology that trains students and practicing veterinary professionals for high risk procedures in a simulated operating room. Learners develop psychomotor and clinical reasoning skills through the Stage III technology, which integrates a canine manikin and authentic anesthesia equipment with a dynamic computer‑based program to control the physiologic patient parameters. The program provides an innovative, first-of-its-kind, interactive experience for veterinary learners.

Since the first development of veterinarian manikins at the University of Southern California in 1969, anesthesia simulators have been used in medical education to teach students and practicing physicians. However, current universal patient simulator technology in human medical education is far beyond an affordable range of veterinary education. Stage III provides the first affordable, completely immersive medical simulation environment.

Stage III provides WSU students with hands‑on experience in a simulated veterinary operating room. The WSU College of Veterinary Medicine is incorporating Stage III into the classroom setting, allowing students to monitor vital signs of the manikin through the use of the program.

“We’re able to create an immersive environment where students can feel like they are in a surgery room, but we’re not spending $200,000 to do it,” said Keegan. “The Stage III software is able to integrate with several manikin enhancements, such as heart and lung sounds, palpable pulses, eye reflex sensors, and limb movement all at an affordable price.”

Stage III incorporates pedagogical approaches and evidence‑based features into a learning approach to enhance learning, clinical skills and self‑confidence in high‑risk anesthesia procedures. In a typical simulation session, two students function as anesthesia providers for the simulated patient while two other students serve as the role of the surgeons practicing surgical techniques using models that have been inserted into a manikin. From its inception, Stage III technology was designed to be independent of any particular manikin, meaning that the program is compatible with manikins of any species or level of complexity.

“Stage III simulation environment grew out of a desire to bring the benefits of simulation training to veterinary education. It is founded on established educational principles and its evolution was guided by empirical evidence and theories in educational psychology,” said Julie Noyes, WSU College of Education doctoral student and Veterinary Clinical Sciences instructor.

A license is a permission to use intellectual property granted by the owner or controller to another party. A license agreement defines the rights of the licensee to use the technology and the responsibilities of the licensee to bring the technology to market. The agreement also compensates WSU and the inventors. The license was granted through WSU’s Office of Commercialization. In fiscal year 2017, WSU’s Office of Commercialization issued 51 U.S. licenses to help bring technology developed at WSU to the marketplace.

In 2018, the Stage III simulation research team was selected to be part of the WSU I‑Corps program, a National Science Foundation program through 51 universities including WSU designed to help move academic research to the marketplace. Through the program, teams develop and refine their business models, discuss lessons learned, and prepare for further customer discovery. WSU I‑Corps participants received up to $2,500 for prototyping, travel, attending conferences, and other needs related to refining the team’s business model.

Stage III simulation technology also has been chosen as one of eight research projects to receive an award of up to $50,000 through WSU’s Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF) for 2019. The Washington Research Foundation re‑established the CGF in 2014 with the support by the WSU Offices of the President, Provost, and the Vice President for Research. The CGF supports projects that have a high chance of being commercialized. The award is intended to be the final funding step to advance innovations from the lab to the marketplace.

“Discoveries and innovations fuel prosperity across the state, nation, and world. The WSU Office of Commercialization partners with researchers to bring their game changing innovations to the market place. From participating in the WSU I‑Corps program to receiving the Commercialization Gap Fund award, we are excited to see the launch of the Stage III program in the marketplace,” said Sita Pappu, assistant vice president for commercialization at WSU.

The Stage III simulation environment was used as the focus of an advanced anesthesia monitoring laboratory session presented at the 2018 International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS) held in New Orleans. The use of Stage III during one of IVECCS’s conference sessions provided an alternative to using live animal subjects while still offering the same gold standard quality training in anesthesia.

“Demand for the first IVECCS Laboratory was so great that we were asked to schedule an additional session to accommodate double the number of participants we originally were planning for the training,” said Keegan.

The response to the symposium sessions was so overwhelmingly positive that the WholeLogic team has been invited to provide training at the 2019 IVECCS event in Washington, D.C.

“Since we first presented our simulation environment at IVECCS, we have seen a growing interest in Stage III from both the corporate and academic veterinary industries,” said Noyes. “We are excited to make Stage III available to organizations looking to provide a low‑risk, immersive training opportunity for high‑risk anesthesia procedures in veterinary medicine.”

To learn more about Stage III, visit the WholeLogic website. For more information about WSU’s Office of Commercialization, visit the WSU Commercialization website.

Media Contact:

  • Karen Hunt, public relations coordinator, Office of Research, 206‑219‑2427, karen.hunt@wsu.edu