I have always been of the persuasion that an integral grasp and understanding of anatomy and physiology is about 2/3 of the information needed to become a competent EMS professional. In an ideal world, all EMS providers would have access to a cadaver lab. Unfortunately, this is the real world, not the ideal. To bridge the gap, we have to turn to simulation.
Learning anatomy can often be difficult for the EMS student to do. Many times, their resources are limited to two dimensional graphics in a text. It can be a challenge for the student to truly grasp the hows and whys of organ function. Spongelab Build a Body is a free access, web based application that allows participants to do just what the title says…build a body. A version is also available for the Ipad. It allows access to six complete body systems. Once completed, the students are able to see how the body functions as a complex, unified organism. In addition, Spongelab includes games, graphics and simulations to enhance the process of learning.
The website is user friendly. The student begins by building one body system at a time. It has a robust menu that gives the user the freedom to choose which body system they want to focus on next. In building the body, the student is presented with a group of organs on the right side that they will then drag over into the center of the website. This is where the human body waiting to be built awaits. When the organ is in the general area of correct placement (close counts), it drops into the correct location. Each time a new system is chosen, graphics and descriptions of what that particular organ does is included with the picture.
The site also has a robust listing of disease processes that the student can select to learn more about which organs are affected. Throughout the website are interactive quizzes to verify that the student if familiar with the information presented. Unfortunately, this information cannot be forwarded to the instructor. The application may be too basic for paramedic students but works very nicely for all other levels of EMS provider.
Learn more at their website: Build a Body by Spongelab