Winning student revolutionises surgical training
A new teaching method that could revolutionise the training of surgeons and deliver significant savings for the NHS has won a prestigious award at London Metropolitan University.
Route 4 is a teaching and training system which enables users to simulate and practice surgical procedures at their own pace and in their own time.
The business has taken out the highly competitive 2013 London Met Student Business Awards.
London Met Accounting and Business Economics student, Zahra Charaffdeen, 23, led the team of three students, including two from King’s College, who developed Route 4.
Zahra and her team were inspired by the need to improve teaching aids for medical students. They hope Route 4 will eventually deliver healthcare simulations for medical students globally, using four different techniques – healthcare education, online communities, digital games and simulation instruments like the surgical tool.
Zahra said Route 4 provides training solutions via an innovative combination of take-home tools, courses and online resources.
“Current options for ‘hands on’ simulation training are typically performed in a lab – which means they are expensive and difficult to access.
“We knew that a tremendous opportunity existed if we could enable organisations to provide their medical students and trainees with access to practical training in an affordable and convenient way – and that’s what we’ve done with Route 4.
“Our business is pioneering the way technical skills are taught. Just as flight simulators result in improved air safety, surgical simulation improves the technical skills of medical students, doctors and surgeons.
“The development in skills will enable better standards of patient care, and ultimately, cost savings for the NHS.”
Current simulation labs costs hundreds of thousands of pounds to set up, maintain and staff and take clinicians and medical equipment out of wards and theatres.
Route 4’s current keyhole surgery trainer by comparison will retail for £700 and can be taken home – so there is no limit to the amount of practice a student can get to prepare them for the high pressure world of the operating theatre.
Zahra cites her undergraduate studies in Accounting and Business Economics at London Metropolitan University, and the guidance received from Accelerator, the university’s business incubator, as important factors in winning the judges over.
She added: “The advice and support provided by Accelerator and through the Student Enterprise Programme, particularly in the later stages of the competition, has been invaluable – especially the opportunity to practice my pitch to a panel of experts drawn from UBS and Linklaters. That experience, whilst challenging, really helped me perfect the pitch in the days leading up to the final.”
As winner, Route 4 receives £2,500 in funding, a market research report prepared by marketest.co.uk and space in the London Met Student Business Hatchery, part of Accelerator, London Met’s business incubator.