MEFANET for the sixteenth time: Artificial intelligence in medical education, virtual reality and book launch

For the first time in history, the 16th MEFANET conference was held outside the Czech Republic in the Slovak Congress Hotel Centrum in Košice. The whole event was held in the spirit of artificial intelligence in medical education, virtual reality and there were also short presentations by regular participants about their improvement and modernization of teaching.

15 Nov 2023 Martin Komenda

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The 16th MEFANET conference was held for the first time in history outside the Czech Republic in the Congress Hotel Centrum in Košice (Slovakia). The conference was opened by doc. Ing. Daniel Schwarz, PhD as one of the founders of the MEFANET network, then doc. Ing. Jaroslav Majerník, PhD for the Faculty of Medicine of the Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice. Kind words and wishes for a successful conference were expressed by the Dean of the Košice Medical Faculty, prof. MUDr. Peter Jarčuška, PhD, and the Vice-Rector of the Technical University of Košice, prof. Ing. Juraj Gazda, PhD. and at the end of the meeting, RNDr. Martin Komenda, Ph.D. welcomed the participants on behalf of Masaryk University. The whole conference was held in the spirit of artificial intelligence in medical education, and virtual reality and there were also short announcements by regular participants about their improvement and modernization of teaching.

The opening of the conference was enriched by the christening of the book Data-driven Decision-making in Medical Education and Healthcare or Data Rulezzz!, whose main author is Martin Komenda. The book summarizes the project activities and outputs that the author and his team have achieved over the last few years through 18 case studies from the field of medical education and healthcare. The MEFANET community can draw from this monograph the results of both good and bad practices in data processing and visualization, as the individual case studies are based on the experience of real projects and can thus help the readers not only to understand the importance of data processing and correct interpretation.

The afternoon programme of the first day opened with a lecture by a foreign guest from St George's Univesity, London, Baba Scheb, who presented the topic of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the context of medical education. He showed how AI has moved forward in recent years as well as specific tools such as Chat GPT and PaLM 2, and highlighted the weaknesses and ethical nature of their use. A follow-up workshop led by Samuel Fernández-Carnero from the University of Alcalá, Spain, introduced participants to the WAZO ultrasound simulator, the first of its kind. Listeners were able to put themselves in the shoes of a student and try out the simulator for themselves on different parts of the human body model available on the WAZO app. The programme continued with short presentations on medical simulation and virtual reality, and at the very end of the first day, the regular open meeting of the MEFANET Coordination Board took place.

The second day of the conference started with the traditional poster session, in which representatives from individual universities from the Czech Republic and Slovakia presented their work. Participants heard about a variety of topics ranging from process automation for teaching evaluation, advances in the creation of simulation departments across MEFANET, the use of audiovisual aids and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) in medical education to 3D reconstruction and model registration and many other interesting topics (available on the MEFANET conference website). The programme continued with a lecture by Radovan Hudák from Košice Technical University, who showed the importance of 3D printing in medicine, specifically in orthopaedics, as well as the results achieved in the last 15 years at the Technical University and what has been realized. What does artificial intelligence bring to medical education? This was the topic of the lectures and panel discussion, in which Roberta Hlavatá, František Babič and Matej Gazda took part.

In the afternoon session of the second day of the conference, several speakers presented their topics on medical physics and anatomy, technology in teaching, faculty evaluation of students, and much more.

Martin Komenda closed the conference with a presentation of one of the conference partners, the National Health Information Portal project ( The NZIP project in the Czech Republic is already in its 4th year of providing citizens with guaranteed information in the field of health and healthcare.NZIP was inspired by the concept of virtual patients, which has been used for several years in the education of young medics, and from 2023 onwards it offers 25 games in which users can test and strengthen their knowledge of health topics in a fun way."The NZIP project is one of our core activities, which for logical reasons has been taken over by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. Currently, we are registering about 10,000 accesses per day, the next challenge for us is communication and spreading awareness of the portal and further creation of content, especially our games," says Martin Komenda about the NZIP portal, who at the very end invited the participants present to another of the series of NZIP conferences.

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