Dr. Vito Forte: OtoSim Medical Training Tool

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.

In his many years teaching at the University of Toronto Department of Otolaryngology, Dr. Vito Forte with his colleague Dr. Paolo Campisi, watched medical students struggle to learn how to accurately diagnose ear conditions. It became clear that students needed more practice time to develop the ability to correctly perform an otoscopy, or ear exam, and avoid over-prescribing antibiotics and unnecessary referrals to specialists, which contribute to the overall burden on the healthcare system.

Working with a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, educators, and engineers, Vito put his teaching experience, as well as his expertise as a surgeon at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, to work to create OtoSim. The computer-based medical teaching tool consists of a silicone ear made to scale with an integrated computer display of images of the ear canal and eardrum exhibiting a full range of medical conditions. Students use it to mimic the experience of looking into an ear with an otoscope.

OtoSim training units can be networked in sets, allowing instructors to share images with groups of students in class, or remotely via Internet. Results show that medical students trained with OtoSim increase their diagnostic accuracy by 44 percent. To date, the training tool has been purchased by more than100 institutions in over a dozen countries.

Dr. Forte was a 2015 Manning Innovation Award winners. At the 2015 Manning Innovation Symposium, hosted by the University of Saskatchewn, told his innovation story.

2015 Innovation Award - Dr. Vito Forte - OtoSim

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Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

Since 1982, The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation has been creating a culture of innovation in Canada by discovering, celebrating and rewarding Canadian innovators of all ages. We tell the stories of Canadian innovators who are improving the lives of Canadians and others around the world through their commercialized innovations.