Need to sharpen your colonoscopy skills? There’s an app for that

Level Ex CEO and Founder Sam Glassenberg is working to address how physicians can virtually practice their craft.

A video game designer by career, Mr. Glassenberg created several apps for his anesthesiologist father years ago that were downloaded 100,000 times.

Given how limited advanced training tools are in the healthcare field, Mr. Glassenberg decided to apply his expertise in video games to surgical simulation. To meet physician demand, Level Ex, a technology company creating 3D, life-like virtual surgery mobile apps, was created for physicians to practice surgical procedures before entering the operating room.

For gastroenterologists, Level Ex is developing Gastro Ex, an app that allows gastroenterologists to practice upper and lower GI endoscopic procedures on their mobile phone while using several different interventional tools and devices.

Level Ex partnered with several physicians to develop unique cases centered around conditions including angioectasia, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, polyps and tumors. It will feature devices including argon plasma coagulators, forceps, as well as hot and cold snares.

Level Ex will update the app with new cases and devices on an ongoing basis.

Philadelphia-based Temple University assistant professor, Adam Ehrlich, MD, served as an advisor on the app. Dr. Ehrlich said to Becker's ASC Review that he believes the app could be an invaluable resource for gastroenterologists.

He said it will serve as an educational resource and will allow gastroenterologists to view conditions they don't routinely see. "It could take 500 colonoscopies before you find a person with Crohn's disease or something unique," Dr. Ehrlich says. “A physician could pull up the app and run a scenario where a patient has Crohn's and get a simulated sense of what to look for during an actual procedure.”

Dr. Ehrlich says Gastro Ex could be beneficial for health organizations considering a new technological investment. A gastroenterologist can open the app, try out the device and get a sense of how it works before making the full investment.

Dr. Ehrlich said the app's realism was most evident to him.

"If you make something bleed, it's going to bleed realistically," he says.

Gastro Ex will offer physicians continuing medical education credits through completing cases. Level Ex previewed the app at Digestive Disease Week, May 6 through May 9, in Chicago and it was featured at Takeda Pharmaceutical’s DDW 2017 booth. The app will be available to the public in the coming months.

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