KBOI 2 - Idaho's first medical school promises high tech learning

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) — With just over three months to go, construction workers are putting the finishing touches on Idaho's first medical school.

Dr. Robert Hasty, the Founding Dean of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, is overseeing the project. “We truly went from the ground up and I think I drove the architects nuts with the details," Hasty said. "But a medical school is an incredibly complex organization because the students spend so much time in the facility. It becomes your place of studying, place of socializing and place of learning.”

So, ICOM will have lots of open space as well as three lounges. All of the lounges will be opened to everyone on campus. There will be no private lounges for faculty and staff.

By the way, no cash will be needed to pay for a cup of coffee or a snack in any of those lounges, only a thumb print. Biometrics will be used to log purchases.

And given what's going on around the country, security is a top priority. “We'll have a single point of entry for the public right there,” said Dr. Hasty has he gave us a tour of the facility.

And each room will have a panic button. While standing in one of the large lecture halls, Dr. Hasty explained, “If there's a bad person in the building, it actually locks (doors to keep) folks from coming in and we actually have an escape route to go through the AV booth.”

Other features:

All classes will be recorded and students will have access to the complete library of lectures. Taking notes may just be a thing of the past.

Also, on the top floor of ICOM there will be a simulated clinic with 12 exam rooms where doctors can practice on mock patients while the faculty monitors performance.

“In the past, we would just send medical students out. They would learn stuff in the classroom and then send them out to the clinics. Now, before they go out, they will have a ton of encounters with medical simulation equipment -- the high-fidelity mannequins -- and live human beings acting out scenarios, all monitored by faculty, all to make sure that the students are excellent and it's the safest care for the patients.”

And, there will be simulated hospital rooms with mannequins that breathe and bleed, have a heartbeat and can even talk.

Dr. Hasty says the point is to train doctors who care.

“The thing that's most important to the patients nowadays is to have a caring physician. And by using the technology, by using this training, we can produce the most caring, empathetic physician ever.”

He promises a medical school of the future. One that will remain on the cutting edge of instruction, research and patient care.

“ICOM is going to be a game changer, not only for the treasure valley and the state of Idaho, but the entire region.

“What we're going to do is change healthcare for generations to come.”

The ribbon cutting for ICOM will be in early September.