Nursing Faculty & Staff posing
UAH College of Nursing faculty and students and Clarus Viewer Corp. personnel participating in the Clarus Viewer: TrainerTM formative evaluation are, left to right, Michael Thomas, Clarus Viewer; Kim Bryant and Beaumont Kyle, UAH students; Donna Guerra, UAH clinical assistant professor and BSN program coordinator; Cayla Garrett, Clarus Viewer, and Dr. Karen Frith, dean, College of Nursing.
Courtesy Clarus Viewer Corp.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing and Huntsville-based Clarus Viewer Corp. are collaborating on the company’s new Clarus Viewer: TrainerTM product, a virtual reality training aid for healthcare students and instructors focused on bridging the gap between traditional book learning and patient care.

Clarus Viewer: Trainer builds on Clarus Viewer Corp.’s FDA 510(k)-cleared Clarus Viewer® software solution created using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to allow users to visualize and manipulate 2D images and 3D models of real-patient medical imagery in VR. Within Clarus Viewer’s product suite, users can examine and slice the generated 3D models to see details like structure, tissue and fluids to better understand and visualize conditions.

The company recently hosted a formative evaluation with UAH for Clarus Viewer: Trainer. This training aid allows users to present, view, manipulate and analyze 3D models of real medical imagery alongside idealized 3D models of human anatomy. During the two-day study, UAH nursing students and professors tested the training tool and provided feedback to the development team.

“The College of Nursing is committed to preparing nurses at all levels to work with new tech advancements while it is being developed. This exposure to the research and development process is one of the distinctions of a UAH education,” said Dr. Karen Frith, dean of the College of Nursing.

Courtesy Clarus Viewer Corp.

“I believe that technology in nursing should be collaborative, not competitive between the tech and human factors. We need to help nurses learn how to be a part of technology development and give them opportunities to provide early feedback. Our faculty works really hard to give our students opportunities like this to engage with cutting-edge technologies. We are thrilled to collaborate with Clarus Viewer.”

UAH alumna Cayla Garrett, BSN, RN, is the Clarus Viewer lead market developer and medical liaison, and she initiated the collaboration.

“Early feedback from the end-users is critical to the success of Clarus Viewer Trainer, and the feedback we received from the UAH nursing program will be instrumental in our next development phase,” Garrett said. “Not only were we able to solidify that our product has the potential to improve the learning experience for nurses of the future, but it also helped us identify barriers of implementation and new areas of growth.”

Dr. Frith, who has taught for more than 30 years, added, “We want more and more opportunities like this for our students so that they are better prepared to engage when they enter the workforce. Whether it’s a process that needs to be improved, technology itself, or maybe it is just a workflow within their organization, anything that creates a ‘questioning mind’ is good for our students. Clarus Viewer does just that.”

Garrett praises her alma mater and notes the importance of academic-industrial collaborations.

“The faculty and staff of UAH’s nursing program are ahead of the curve – always open to new technologies and evolving its curricula proactively for the increasing use of digital technologies,” she said.

“Together, industry and academia must create educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels in digital health and data science. Through this formative evaluation of Clarus Viewer: Trainer, we were able to give nursing students the opportunity to test and develop a new potential training tool for their program and allow them to work with and learn from computing, engineering and other interdisciplinary fields.”



Kristina Hendrix

Elizabeth Gibisch