The Case for Open Standards in Physiology Modeling
By Stefan Frembgen, Dr-Ing, President of IngMar Medical
Physiology modeling was an important topic during the Modeling & Simulation summit at the recent IMSH 2018 conference in Los Angeles.
Using physiological modeling to automatically render a patient’s response to treatment is extremely important for medical simulation. First and foremost because of the difficulty of running a simulation scenario when every patient response requires expert instructor intervention.
A complete model, applicable to the widest possible range of patient states and situations, appears to be out of reach for quite some time – if it ever becomes a reality at all. On the other hand, more specialized models, limited in scope and restricted to specific scenarios, are already making a very significant contribution to advancing the realism of patient simulators.
How can we best advance the field of simulation in this area? It might help to think about approaches that other industries have taken. Time and again open standards have helped the spread of new technology. Open standards are technical standards for industry-wide interoperability based on universally accepted protocols and/or physical features. They offer numerous advantages:
- Built on industry consensus, open standards are more likely to endure into the future. This reduces risk and makes investment more attractive for early adopters.
- Due to operability with other technologies, open standards increase the size of the potential market.
- Because they level the playing field, open standards can make it easier for smaller players to participate. This can encourage development of highly specialized applications in niche markets.
The ASME (American Society for Mechanical Engineers) is working on a standard to “coordinate, promote, and foster the development of standards that provide procedures for assessing and quantifying the accuracy and credibility of computational models and simulations.” We feel that it would be of great benefit to the industry, if standards were developed for simulation components to interact with one another. The effort to create an Advance Modular Manikin (AMM™), funded so far by the DOD, constitutes such an attempt and we will hopefully see the fruits of that effort in the near future.
A question for the time being is whether the community as a whole or big users/customers and technology providers will embrace the concept of open standards. In other words, do they see the benefits of an accelerated adoption of simulation in general as outweighing the up-front investment, efforts that might not be repaid immediately or might even benefit a competitor in the short term?