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  • 2023
  • Los Angeles College of Chiropractic uses Force Sensing Table Technology to improve clinician training and assessment, along with treatment for patients

Los Angeles College of Chiropractic uses Force Sensing Table Technology to improve clinician training and assessment, along with treatment for patients

Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) recognizes that innovation plays a very important role in advancing healthcare education and healthcare professions. The University’s vision is to transform and redefine health and healthcare education. As such, the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC) is using innovation to transform clinician training. Innovation that addresses immediate needs, and offers instant solutions for improvement.

SCU faculty and clinical practitioners worked together in 2021 to evaluate new resources to help enhance student training, expedite assessment of manual therapy skills, and improve treatment for patients. The innovative enhancement they added to LACC that year was the Force Sensing Table Technology (FSTT) System.

The FSTT® system, developed by researchers at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), embeds a force sensing platform into a chiropractic treatment table to provide users with immediate feedback regarding their performance of manual therapy. Delayed video feedback can also be incorporated into the FSTT system. The system is supported by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) after demonstrating that students are able to improve their skills in manual therapy with less than an hour of practice using the FSTT.

Dr. Amber McCallum, DCAmber McCallum, Instructor, Chiropractic Education, was recently appointed as LACC’s new Force Sensing Table Technology (FSTT®) Lab Director.

Dr. McCallum graduated Summa Cum Laude from the SCU LACC Class of 2019. She was the class valedictorian and recipient of the Lester McCoy Clinical Excellence Award and Dr. Herbert Magee Jr. Technique Award. She began teaching full time at LACC in 2020, leading three courses in the Chiropractic Education Department.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be involved in teaching chiropractic education courses and having a role in shaping our future clinicians,” said Dr. McCallum. “I am eager to show the students what they are capable of and help guide them towards a successful career as chiropractors. The FSTT technology will provide LACC students at SCU with an amazing opportunity to improve their adjusting technique.”

LACC’s FSTT Lab has two FSTT tables and four thrusting mannequins. “The force sensing technology is built into the tables themselves, so we can adjust people or practice on the dummies,” said Dr. McCallum. “The tables pick up the information and displays it on computer/tv screens so the students can see what their adjustments look like in graphical form.”

CMCC provides examples of lesson plans, though LACC has developed a custom program with each CP course offering different lesson plans, customized to what students are able to do, according to where they are in their academic career.

Currently, students enrolled in Chiropractic Procedures 5 (CP5), a course where students learn how to adjust the cervical and thoracic spine, must attend the force plate lab as part of their course at least twice, but are allowed to attend more sessions. Students enrolled in Chiropractic Procedures 4 (CP4), a course where students learn to adjust the lumbar spine and pelvis, are given the option to attend, as this is the term when they start adjusting, though it is not mandatory. Dr. McCallum says that she hopes to open the FSTT lab to all students so that lower-term students can begin learning how to control their force on the mannequins. The mannequins simulate the structure of the human spine, soft tissue and have flexible necks for practicing, training, and evaluation of manual therapy skills.

“The FSTTs are tools for our students to take advantage of and realize early on where they need to develop,” said Dr. McCallum. “They help students create good habits early on in their adjusting careers, which will make them better adjusters, as future chiropractors. This tool has the ability to give students the confidence they need to deliver the best care, through proper, effective adjustments.”

The FSTT shows students where they excel, and where they need to focus more attention. “It shows them their speed, pre-load tension, if they recoil (meaning if they lose pre-adjustive tension) during the thrust, how much force they are delivering, their line of drive, among several other types of helpful feedback,” said Dr. McCallum. “Students often see that they are re-coiling during adjustments when they didn’t realize that before. This means that they sometimes let go of the pre-adjustive tension that they are trying to build, before the actual initiation of the thrust. Or they sometimes don’t hold the joint at end range before thrusting. Students also realize that they aren’t always getting enough force during their adjustments. And some students also realize that they are far better than they expected.”

“Not every chiropractic school or program can show quantitative data showing the students how they’re doing,” said Dr. McCallum. “FSTT shows the students how they have improved, from when they initially started adjusting. This helps guide and springboard them in identifying what style of adjusting works for them, and ways to tweak their adjustments in order to gain more speed, force, etc., to become as effective, as possible.”

SCU’s FSTT Lab provides instant analytical information to chiropractic students, something that cannot be directly measured from human patients.

For more information on how the FSTT can be used for teaching and learning, please contact Dr. McCallum at ambermccallum@scuhs.edu


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