Feasibility Study for a Scottish Medical Visualisation Network

Paul Anderson*, Vassilis Charissis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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The Feasibility Study was conducted for one year between 2007 and 2008. This report describes the scope of the study through persons and organisations contacted, presents the case studies undertaken, on-going development work and concludes with a strategic overview of the area coupled to recommendations for the future.

Traditionally, the only means medical practitioners have had to view real three-dimensional structures of the human body have been in the form of patients and cadavers. Now, however, advances in 3D visualisation technologies are making it possible to view and interact with such structures without the need or reliance on the use of real people or body parts. The ability to take vast quantities of existing two-dimensional sectional data, and render it into realistic interactive three-dimensional images has the potential to affect profound changes in medicine in terms of teaching, learning and cognition.

The Digital Design Studio, together with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, envisage the need for a sustainable, long-term network that will identify the key areas in future practice-based research in which 3D visualisation and interaction can support medical learning and teaching, surgical planning and rehearsal. Such a network of clinical practitioners, academics and visualisation experts with an interest in interactive real-time imaging, simulation and reusable learning objects, together with a natural constituency of medical schools and royal colleges, would provide Scotland with a profile in medical visualisation consistent with its existing international standing in medicine.

The response to this Feasibility Study from the medical profession in general and to the formation of a dedicated Network has been overwhelming. There was an unreserved willingness and a spirit of cooperation on the part of all medical practitioners contacted to support the aims of the Study. The Study has resulted in the following achievements:

The completion of five case studies in notoriously difficult fields each of which successfully demonstrated the rich potential of 3D visualisation to educate and inform where proper multi-disciplinary collaboration was developed between medical and visualisation experts. One of these, lung collapse, brought a new realisation that upturned conventional medical understanding and current teaching practice. The success of the case studies was instrumental in attracting additional funding from the Royal College of Surgeons, NHS Education Scotland, Ayr Hospital and Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyScottish Funding Council
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • medical visualisation
  • virtual reality
  • augmented reality
  • medical network
  • anatomy
  • pathology
  • medical training
  • surgical simulation
  • surgical rehearsal
  • user centred design
  • user experience
  • user interaction
  • human computer interaction (HCI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Health Informatics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Surgery


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