Through its Data + Decisions Destination Area, Virginia Tech inventively interweaves data science into its curriculum. Meet a faculty member using data in novel and world-changing ways.

At the Center for Simulation, Research, and Patient Safety (SIM Center) in Roanoke, students from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine are using data-driven research to help find ways of delivering safe, efficient, quality medical care.

Built and supported by Carilion Clinic, the center brings together physicians, researchers, and other health professionals to gather data, find solutions to complex clinical problems, and test them in a realistic environment.

“SIM is the translational space between basic science research and implementation in clinical contexts,” said Sarah Parker, assistant professor of basic science education at the medical school. “It’s imperative that people come into a realistic environment and learn without risk to patients.”

One stream of research taking place in the SIM Center aims to design interventions to augment human capabilities and mitigate human limitations within the health care setting. For example, one project focuses on using eye tracking and other physiological factors to develop a virtual coach for students learning laparoscopic surgery.

Other data-driven projects at the SIM Center include leadership style and team performance in the operating room, infection risk in outpatient dialysis, and pediatric fears before surgery.

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