The MedHealth executive board recently took a field trip to Elm Park Labs, an organization that builds extended reality (XR) applications for a variety of industries, including healthcare.
XR can play a meaningful role in educating healthcare students in low-stakes, fully immersive simulations, replicating procedures and environments to provide a safe and controlled space for training. It can also support recovering patients through controlled environments that enhance cognitive and motor rehabilitation. We sat down with Kim Hanke, Elm Park Labs founder and CEO, to learn more about her company and MedHealth’s recent tour of their facility.
Questions and Answers
What compelled you to create Elm Park Labs?
My journey to creating Elm Park Labs was driven by a lifelong commitment to education and innovation as well as a passion for design and engineering. Growing up, my father, Leonard Hanke, played a pivotal role in shaping my understanding of design thinking and approach to technical education. I was only 13 years old when I started checking and developing new assignments for my dad. After graduating, I entered the workforce prepared with four years of technical education. Since 1989, my career led me to working full-time and providing technical training in the evenings. This not only allowed me to support many companies but also advanced my education. By 2015, the company known as Elm Park Labs had fully evolved to providing extended reality, including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive 3D. These services have been utilized with our past clients as well as within the healthcare industry. The strong foundation that our company has built allows us to provide extraordinary solutions, with the goal of better healthcare outcomes.
Tell us more about how Elm Park Labs is working in healthcare.
Elm Park Labs is taking a comprehensive approach to healthcare. We provide solutions that are educating healthcare professionals, medical students, and medical technicians through low-stakes, immersive simulations with experiential learning. Our offerings also extend to patient and caregiver education regarding medical conditions, care, support, and medical devices. In addition, we are actively pursuing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to support recovering patients through controlled environments that enhance cognitive, non-motor, and motor rehabilitation. Our journey has been one of innovation, adaptability, and a commitment to making a positive impact in healthcare education and simulation.
The Care Companion application supports patients, families, and caregivers with education and knowledge about medical conditions, procedures, and approaches to care.
The Intensive Care and Operating Room applications provide clinical skills, technical process, procedure, and collaboration of multiple roles within low-stakes/high-impact simulations that provide real-world clinical experiences.
Elm Park Labs is also pursuing FDA approval of a solution that supports the assessment and evaluation of patients affected by cognitive-motor tasking in individuals with neurologic disorders.
Tell us about your lab. What did you share with the MedHealth team during their recent tour?
The tour that took place in early October was a wonderful opportunity to share the background of our mission and the current projects we’re working on. The MedHealth team was impressed with our simulation lab, where clinicians, providers, and manufacturers visit to conduct training. After touring the physical simulation lab, we took team members through our virtual simulation lab, which includes a realistic operating room and intensive care unit environment in VR. One of the biggest benefits of VR is that you’re able to complete virtual training from anywhere in the world as many times as you’d like. VR allows the user to practice on their own time, on a virtual patient, so they may master the material before treating a real patient. Additionally, we reviewed other XR applications like our Care Companion-AR and cognitive-motor VR training tasking simulation. Throughout the visit, the MedHealth team provided positive feedback on our products and opportunities for areas where we can collaborate.
What’s on the horizon for Elm Park Labs?
After several years building a strong foundation, we will continue to expand our solutions that support patients, families, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in conjunction with our partners in healthcare.