The Western Michigan University Unified Clinics has operated with a dual mission since its doors opened in 1995: high quality service delivery to the community, and student learning and development. The clinics were originally equipped with audio equipment to allow listening while viewing live therapy sessions through two-way observation windows. This enabled family members and WMU students to observe therapy sessions. After nearly 25 years, this equipment was out-of-date, bulky and inoperable.
Thanks to a $1.5 million state appropriation from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in 2018, the Clinics upgraded their audio/visual equipment. Replacing the original equipment allows faculty clinicians and their students to continue to prepare the workforce for Michigan and to meet the needs of patients. The system from CVi Solutions, the Video, Audio Learning Tool (VALT), was designed as an observation and evaluation tool for clinical training in higher education. This system allows seamless audio and video recording of a specified evaluation or treatment session, as each treatment room is equipped with the technology. Using this HIPAA-compliant digital recording system, clinical educators can use recordings of sessions to support the hands-on education they provide student clinicians. Clinical educators can use these secure recordings with students to more closely review and discuss evaluation and treatment techniques, as well as reflect on the student’s development as a clinician. Recordings may also be used for teaching in the classroom, if that permission has been granted by the patient. The new system uses 24 cameras placed in treatment areas and groups rooms across the clinics.
“The students and faculty in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences are excited to use the VALT system to provide quick access to recordings of clinical sessions, to provide another level of support to students’ clinical and academic experiences. The new audio system will ensure consistent high-quality sound from the treatment rooms in the Unified Clinics,” said Kathryn Hillenbrand, Clinic Coordinator of Speech-Language Pathology at the Unified Clinics.