AMRSim: A microbial reality simulator for veterinary practice training

AMRSim A microbial reality simulator for veterinary practice training

AMRSim: a microbial reality simulator for veterinary practice training >

Research Themes
Health and Wellbeing

Project Lead
Prof Alastair Macdonald, Senior Researcher School of Design

Partner Organisations
University of Surrey
Fitzpatrick Referrals Ltd

Funding
The AMRSim project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, grant reference number AH/R002088/1, under the AMR Theme 3b Pump Priming call, Indoor and Built Environment.

The Problem

Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are an established and growing issue in small animal veterinary practices in the developed world. AMR bacteria are more likely to emerge and transmit where there are higher microbial densities. Effective infection prevention and control (IPC) is essential for tackling the AMR problem. The uptake of appropriate IPC is heavily influenced by human risk perception and consequent behaviour and the way humans and animals interact with the physical environment of the vet practice. Effective communication and teaching tools are therefore necessary to ensure individuals’ understanding and behaviours are in line with scientific recommendations. Whilst data exist to inform best practise in IPC, they seldom incorporate multiple factors and are published in academic journals, thus having limited impact on how practitioners understand and practise IPC in their working environment.

Our proposal

AMRSim is a collaboration between The Glasgow School of Art, the University of Surrey and Fitzpatrick Referrals Ltd. Using a co-design process, we shall build a dynamic interactive virtual model (AMRSim) of the vet practice that takes human, animal and microbial data from the real world, and makes them ‘come alive’ in a visual way. Importantly, the model will allow the normally invisible bacteria to be ‘seen’ as they multiply and spread through the indoor environment on people, animals and surfaces.

Underlying hypothesis

As practitioners interact with the model, both in its development, and then in its application, they will gain a greater appreciation for: 1) the impact IPC can have on infection control; 2) where weaknesses lie in current practise; and 3) where changes made to the way people and animals interact with each other and their environment can disrupt the status quo. These will lead to a reduced risk of bacterial contamination and infection, and ultimately reduced reliance on antibiotics.

Outcome

We shall use AMRSim with veterinary practice staff to encourage effective reflective behavioural changes that positively impact on microbial contamination, thereby reducing the risk of acquisition and transmission of AMR. Through proof of principle we shall have a theoretical and practical framework and a tool with which to apply this approach more widely, e.g. for teaching students or application to other areas where biosecurity in the indoor environment is paramount.

Project Team

Prof Alastair Macdonald, Glasgow School of Art: School of Design (Project Lead); Prof Mark Chambers, University of Surrey, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science; Prof Roberto La Ragione, University of Surrey, School of Veterinary Medicine and Science; Dr Matthieu Poyade, Glasgow School of Art, School of Simulation and Visualisation; Ms Shona Noble, Glasgow School of Art, School of Simulation and Visualisation; Dr Kayleigh Wyles, University of Surrey, School of Psychology; Dr Tom Kupfer, University of Surrey, School of Psychology; Dr Andy Wales, ADW Research (Consultant);

Ms Fraje Watson, Fitzpatrick Referrals (Partner); and Dr Filbert Musau, Glasgow School of Art, Mackintosh School of Architecture.

Contact

Prof Alastair Macdonald, Senior Researcher School of Design, The Glasgow School of Art. a.macdonald@gsa.ac.uk