Novel partnerships for interprofessional education: Building collaborations between information systems students specializing in 3D technology and physical therapy students


The role of emerging technologies in the rehabilitative care of patients continues to grow. In order to effectively provide rehabilitative care in a complex medical system, rehabilitative specialists need to be fluent in how technology can enhance their delivery of patient care. Establishing mechanisms for physical therapy students to gain fluency in the use of 3D technology directly aligns with our programs pursuit for excellence in physical therapy education. In an effort to facilitate our student's competence with employing technologies for patient care, our program established a unique series of interprofessional educational sessions between students majoring in information systems-human centered computing with our physical therapy students. The aim of the interprofessional series was to build collaborations between human centered computing students and physical therapy students to better address the healthcare needs of individuals requiring adaptive equipment. This educational session will provide insight into our experience from development to completion of interprofessional learning experiences between students and faculty within our PT department with students and faculty within the Department of Information Systems. This presentation will cover the challenges, strengths and outcome assessments of this newly constructed collaborative project as well as recommendations for future endeavors for interprofessional 3D technology education.

Methods and/or Description of Project

Faculty between the physical therapy program and information systems program within a large University system collaborated to develop a series of interprofessional educational training sessions for students within their programs. Faculty between the two programs (PT and Information Systems) met to discuss how best to integrate each disciplines background, what the student learner needs would be for both groups of students and what would be the targeted goals of the interprofessional educational training experiences. Faculty determined the primary goal of the interprofessional educational series would be for both groups of students to share their unique knowledge and skills in an effort to blend strengths for the purpose of generating quality, patient-centered adaptive equipment using 3D technology. Three interprofessional training sessions were developed to include first year physical therapy students and students at different phases of the information systems program along with faculty from both programs. The first educational session included a presentation and discussion about 3D technology, the role of 3D technology in medical intervention and how each discipline contributes to working with patients with adaptive needs. The second session involved students from both programs problem solving how to use 3D technology to modify adaptive equipment for various simulated patient cases. At this session, the interprofessional student groups generated molds using 3D technology that would be used by the human-centered computing students to produce the end-product adaptive device. Faculty from both disciplines were present to facilitate interactions between the students from each discipline. The culmination of the three training sessions was a review and analysis of the newly designed adaptive equipment individualized for the simulated patient cases.


Student surveys were distributed at multiple time periods to evaluate PT student understanding of 3D Technology, PT student understanding of the role of 3D technology in healthcare, student perception of the interprofessional educational series, as well as PT student's comfort level with using 3D technology for patients in the future. Data analysis of the surveys is currently being processed. The outcomes of the data analysis will be completed and summarized at the educational session. Feedback from PT faculty as well as students/faculty from the human-centered computing program regarding the interprofessional educational series will also be presented. Initial feedback from the participants revealed both groups of students learned new content as well as gained an appreciation of how each discipline could contribute to working with patients with adaptive needs. In particular, the PT students commented on how they now understand the breath by which 3D technology could be used when working with patients with adaptive needs and the information system students commented on how they now had a better understanding of how certain molds and materials were better than others for use with adaptive devices.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education

Initial feedback from faculty and students from both programs was overwhelmingly supportive of the interprofessional experiences. With the increasing demands for incorporating technologies into rehabilitative care, educational experiences like the one described here not only increase the quality of education provided to our physical therapy students but provides an opportunity for our future physical therapists to be skilled in using additional resources, like 3D technology, to assist patients with adaptive needs.


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Course Objectives

1. Understand the role of 3D technology in physical therapy education
2. Identify a minimum of 2 methods of incorporating 3D technology into a Doctor of Physical Therapy educational program
3. Identify a minimum of 2 learning opportunities for physical therapy students to collaborate with information system specialists in the human-centered computing field to assist in the delivery of care for rehabilitation patients with adaptive needs
4. Understand strategies to develop novel interprofessional educational experiences

Instructional Methods

Lecture, Small Group Discussion

Tentative Outline/Schedule

a. Introduction to 3D technology (15 min)
b. 3D technology and Physical Therapy (15 min)
c. Overview of the 3D technology curriculum implemented in DPT program (20 min)
d. Review of evaluation of curriculum (pre-post test surveys) (20 min)
e. Summary of interprofessional experiences including strengths, areas for improvement, recommendations for future experiences (20 min)
f. Attendee feedback - small group discussion of other individuals'/departments experiences with 3D technology in PT education (15 min)
g. Question/Answer (15 min)

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2526140
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Dr. Karen Gordes, Sandy McCombe Waller
  • Keywords:

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