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Doctor transforms up-close medical training into distance learning with TriCaster
BACK STORY Dr. Brandon Winchester, fresh out of his residency at Duke University Medical Center, was inspired to spread the specialized knowledge he had gained in a new anesthesia technique that deadens a specific nerve or group of nerves prior to surgery with the assistance of ultrasound imaging. He knew first-hand how greatly patients could benefit from this new procedure, and concluded that the training he received would be equally valuable to working anesthesiologists who had not yet been trained. So he followed the traditional path: teaching the new technique at conferences and continuing education classes. EUREKA MOMENT He quickly realized that even if he committed a lifetime to sharing his knowledge, the nature of in-person, one-time training meant that he could only reach a small number of his peers and achieve a limited impact. “We weren’t able to provide what I felt to be the necessary follow-up education for those attending on-location training to learn these techniques and become proficient themselves,” says Winchester. “We were basically setting them free in the wild, prior to learning their skills to survive.” Winchester determined that the reach of the Internet, combined with the power of video would give him the lecture capture and distance learning tools to teach what he hoped would be thousands of anesthesiologists worldwide about the technique. BIG CHALLENGE Dr. Brandon Winchester, fresh out of his residency at Duke University Medical Center, was inspired to spread the specialized knowledge he had gained in a new anesthesia technique that deadens a specific nerve or group of nerves prior to surgery with the assistance of ultrasound imaging. He knew first-hand how greatly patients could benefit from this new procedure, and concluded that the training he received would be equally valuable to working anesthesiologists who had not yet been trained. So he followed the traditional path: teaching the new technique at conferences and continuing education classes. “After trying all of these approaches and seeing how often I got a ‘Blue Screen of Death’ and how often my capture equipment wasn’t working adequately, I realized it was going to be worth it to look at a higher-end solution for webcasting,” he says. “That was when I discovered the NewTek TriCaster.” He saw at once how doing away with individual components pieced together would pay off. He’d be able to set up each session simply, stream his distance-learning lectures live in HD, record them for on-demand viewing, and gain the quality and robustness of a compact, all-in-one professional solution. The most attractive quality of TriCaster was its reliability,” says Winchester. “The software alternatives that I had extensively trialed were not stable enough, while TriCaster worked every time without fail.” What’s more, he didn’t have the use of a studio to shoot his training sessions. He needed to incorporate live production into a tight surgical environment for the actual procedures, and would have to use virtual imagery to emulate a more-professional setting for his lectures. TriCaster could solve both problems with a single, affordable investment. “It was great how portable the TriCaster was,” says Winchester, “and how incredible the chroma key and virtual set functions performed for studio work.” “AHA” MOMENT Using a makeshift studio set up in his garage, Winchester set up the TriCaster to mix his camera feeds with video sources and live stream his training—and delivered a lecture every bit as effective as if he and his students were in the same room. Winchester realized this solution could cut through the distance and replace the costly, in-person training that had proven inadequate. FRESH APPROACH Winchester devised a two-tiered approach to training. One relied on combining two different shots along with real-time, over-the-shoulder graphics composed of his PowerPoint slides—all fed into the TriCaster and mixed in real time. At the same time, the system’s chroma key effects superimposed the doctor into one of the TriCaster’s professional virtual sets—completely transforming the look of his garage operation into a professional studio setting. SUCCESS Today, Winchester is achieving 4,000 to 5,000 total monthly views of his video lectures and procedures. Not only can he deliver ongoing training thanks to the ease of producing and streaming HD video with TriCaster, but he also makes it far easier and less expensive for busy anesthesiologists to learn the blocks without interrupting their practices. In addition, he’s parlayed his newfound video and streaming expertise into the formation of two new businesses: Blockjocks, a not-for-profit education company; and—with a team of other physicians Docstream.com, an online platform for the medical community to stream video to other doctors and advance their knowledge about the latest medical developments and procedures. “These Web-based education companies are my legacy, my way of making a personal impact on the advancement of modern medicine,” says Winchester. “If neither company were to ever turn a profit, but they positively impacted the clinical practices of doctors and nurses around the world, I would still consider them both to be huge successes.
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