I.      Announcements

  • Welcome incoming ITAC Coordinator: Jillian Warren.  Jillian will be replacing DeAnna Hall as ITAC coordinator beginning Fall 2017.
  • No comments/questions on agenda or minutes.  Minutes approved.


II.     Agenda Items

4:05- 4:20 – TechExpo 2017 Update: Kyle Skrinak, Chuck Rodgers (10 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:   10 years ago, a dedicated group envisioned a gathering of Duke IT staff to foster professionalism, share expertise, and look into the future.  Kyle and Chuck will provide an overview of TechExpo X.   

Why it’s relevant:  TechExpo is a one-day conference of Duke IT people, by Duke IT people and for Duke IT people.  It’s the best opportunity to learn about the amazing contributions in IT at Duke, to enhance your IT skills, and connect with friends and colleagues across the university and health system.

This year marked the 10th TechExpo conference.  TechExpo is a campus-wide gathering of IT Staff from both the health system and university sides of Duke.  In recent years, TechExpo has been held at same time as Duke Alumni meet-up.  Both events are held at the Washington Duke Inn. Co-chairs are planning next year’s event for spring of 2018.  

The goals of TechExpo include the following:

  1. To facilitate personal growth bygiving people a chance to give talks and presentations before an audience
  2. To share information with colleagues
  3. To meet in-person those you have communicated with only through email
  4. To hear from world-class speakers.  Guillermo Diaz, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Cisco, was the keynote speaker in 2016.  Dr. Robert Califf, founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and former Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, was the keynote speaker this year.

There were three notable TechExpo firsts this year, including:

  •  the first time reaching capacity at time of registration
  • the first time to get all the volunteers they needed
  • the first time to use the parking garage as a parking option 


This year marked the first time the organizing group had to cut off registrations.  There were 782 registrations and there is seating for 640 in the ballroom for lunch. Although there was a record number of registrations, there was also a high number of no-shows.   


In previous years, registration has been a challenge.  Prior to the implementation of Cvent, an event registration software, registration was done manually.  An estimated 300 people arrived at Tech Expo within the first hour, between 8 and 9am.  Prior to Cvent, to register each person involved checking him/her in by hand and then printing out his/her badge.  However, by using Cvent, volunteers can process people very quickly, get them lanyards and get them on their way.  In 2016, with the initial implementation of Cvent, registration time got down to 11 seconds per registrant.  This year they used QR codes as well.  QR codes were sent to each registrant in the weeks before Tech Expo. He/she could then pull up the code on their phone or other device, and use it to check-in to the event. With use of the QR code, registration time was more than cut in half from 11 seconds per registrant to 5 seconds.


Sixty-seven volunteer opportunities were shared by 44 volunteers. Volunteer committees had members that represented both the university and health system sides. Debrah Suggs was the co-chair of the volunteer committee.  There was an idea to record the people who have contributed to the success of TechExpo over the years.  A team of volunteers made a highly professional video of past chairs and leadership.  The video was showcased right before the keynote.  There was a lot of positive feedback regarding the video. 

The following is a list of some of the other committees:

a. Conveners

b. Registration

c. Logistics

d. Floaters

e. Photographer (More than a few people unofficially help with that.)

f. Communication (The “Dance Card”, headed up by IT Alliance and Jeannine Sato, was a way to facilitate networking.  For example, people were encouraged to meet colleagues from other departments, sit with someone new at lunch, talk to a speaker, etc.  Each new connection could sign one’s Dance Card.  Those that completed and turned in a Dance Card, were entered into a drawing to win a drone.)

g. Program (51 proposals were submitted.)
h. Audio/Visual


Estimated total cost was within 2% of actual cost.


Excellent Keynote address, registration time halved, well-chosen prizes, abundant and convenient parking. Regarding parking, this is the 3rd year in a row that there was a different parking scheme for the event at the Washington Duke Inn.  In 2015, the limited availability of on-site parking was an issue.  In 2016, shuttle busses were provided and people were bussed in from various locations.  In 2017, the garage was open and people were able to take advantage of that parking option.  In some of the feedback received, people mentioned how pleased they were with being able to come and go as needed. 

Opportunities for Growth

  Co-chairs noted the inherent difficulties in lining up keynote speakers. There is an opportunity there in how they look at getting speakers.  Historically, registration has been a challenge so Cvent is wonderful.  However, there are questions as to whether it is worth the cost. Communication has its own challenges, particularly the difficulty around trying to identify all IT professionals across Duke.  The communication team is making progress at identifying outliers.

This year they had to make the decision to turn people away. They are exploring a move to a more formalized registration/de-registration process. The goal of a formalized process is to decrease the amount of no-shows, and manage the costs overall.       

Goals for Next Year

The goals for next year include continuing to improve registration process, canvasing the pool of vendors, getting the number of no-shows down, generating ideas around theme selection, exploring the possible need for a waiting list.

Q: How does this compare with CLAC, and the groups on campus that try to bring together IT people regularly?

A: Tech Expo is a larger event.  It is both the university and health system working together.

Q: Did you do any kind of post-assessment with attendees?

A: We do a survey every year.  We send out an incentivized survey to the whole list – those who attend and those who didn’t.  If you didn’t attend, we ask why.  We try to gather information from everybody.  We will be meeting tomorrow to do a post-mortem to review what happened. What comes from that is the keystone document we use to set agenda for next year.

Q: I’m wondering about Washington Duke as a venue? Is it a good place to be for this?  It doesn’t seem to be the most technologically robust environment.
A: It’s gotten better.  A few years ago, there were some difficulties. After that year, they more effectively engaged OIT to make sure infrastructure was sufficient to support tech needs.  It’s a very good venue.  The staff there, as far as event planning, etc., is top-notch.

Q: Should the JB Duke be in play?

A: The capacity there is an issue. 

Q: Hallways feel crowded at Tech expo.  There is not a lot of room to navigate, particularly at lunch.

A: WaDuke is designed as place where they can have multiple things happening at the same time but not one big, giant thing.  

Q: Is it advantageous to have it during alumni weekend?  I would think that would complicate matters.

A: Washington Duke has that date open because with alumni in they have the meeting rooms open. 

Q: Do you charge the units or anybody else for this? 

A: Groups have stepped up and been very supportive.

Q: How do you become a member of a committee?
A: Contact Kyle.  There is a plan to revamp how it’s done.  There are people who raised their hands, and we want people wo are happy to do what it takes for a successful TechExpo.

 4:20- 4:50 – Augmented Reality/Neurosurgery, Dr. Regis Kopper, Andrew Cutler (15 minute presentation, 15 minute discussion) 

What it is:  Duke Neurosurgery residents Dr. Shervin Rahimpour and Dr. Andrew Cutler collaborated with Dr. Regis Kopper – directory of Duke immersive Virtual Environment (DiVE) – and Yameng Liu, a master’s student in engineering, to create a more efficient way to conduct brain procedures.  Using a pair of augmented reality glasses known as Microsoft HoloLens, the team planned to simulate routine, yet tricky procedure – an extraventricular drain.  Doctors Kopper and Cutler will provide an overview of the proof of concept.

Why it’s relevant:  The introduction of the HoloLens technology provides new opportunities for creativity and innovation with the potential to expand and advance different professional fields because of its ability to combine the real world with the virtual world.  The ability to increase the accuracy and ease of neurosurgical procedures by creating a virtual patient-specific map of the brain has countless implications for the future of neurology. 

Dr. Cutler gave a background on the physiology of the human brain.  Hydrocephalus, an accumulation of fluid on the brain, can occur as a result of trauma, certain congenital conditions, a blockage, or a hemorrhage.  An excessive accumulation of fluid on the brain can lead to patients becoming unresponsive or even comatose. When the fluid filled spaces are large, it is relatively easy to drill a hole in the skull and pass a catheter into the space to drain it off.  This process takes approximately 15 minutes.  However, in some cases, because a ventricle is shifted or filled with blood, looking for the necessary anatomical landmarks is more challenging.  Thus, it is more difficult to get the catheter into the space. In such cases, it may take two or three passes for a doctor to successfully insert a catheter.  Dr. Cutler’s group wants to get the catheter in, in one pass.   The current method of neuronavigation, a GPS-like system that is used in operating rooms, takes time to set up. Doctors must work quickly, especially when dealing with a high trauma level.  The goal of this interdisciplinary collaboration was to design a highly mobile neuronavigation system, something to allow doctors to quickly get nerve navigation wherever they are in the hospital.  

This device is in the augmented reality spectrum.  Augmented reality is preferable to virtual reality because it affords doctors the situational awareness – the ability to see the patient, and to see around them - they need while performing an extraventricular drain.  Microsoft HoloLens is mobile, self-contained, and has the spatial tracking that doctor’s need.

There are other neurosurgery groups and companies that have virtual reality products for neurosurgery at this point.  Those products, however, are mostly used for planning and not what would be used in the clinical space.  What Dr. Cutler’s group wants to do is use holograms to take everything that was on the touchscreens, and put it right in front of you so you can interact with it sterilely.  Right now, they need to have someone use the systems for them while they are scrubbed in.  There are very few systems that bring the navigation right where the surgeon is looking, and this, theoretically, could do that. Team chose augmented reality because when you have to look up and down to the screen, you lose focus and even hand position. Using AR, one can see the whole room, pick up tools, and monitor the patient’s blood pressure and other vital signs.

How it Works

     Every trauma patient gets a standard CT scan of their head.  There is software to turn the scan into a mesh model of the ventricles in relatively real-time.  Those ventricle models are pushed over to HoloLens.  Currently, as it is being tested in an engineering setting, they are manually holding the hologram and aligning it to the patient.  Eventually, they will use markers on the patient to get the placement precision we need.
   This is the first time we know of where you can look down at a patient and see their ventricles exactly where they are.  You are able to see them through the patient’s skull.  Once the HoloLens picks up the catheter, it overlays the hologram of the catheter over top of the real catheter, and you can get a sense of where it is in the person’s brain.  You can see the catheter marching toward the ventricle to give you real time navigation of the catheter. 

Future Directions

Group working on refining the device to get a more robust prototype that can be used on cadavers.  An upcoming feature is the software to generate navigational lines.  There are applications beyond extraventricular drains.  This could greatly speed up many procedures in the hospital.


Q: You do the CT scan, then create the mesh model and are navigating with it. How dynamic is brain space?
A: It could change. From CT scan to having it in could be 20 minute.  In some patients it changes that quickly.

Q: But the process doesn’t take, for example, 5 hours?
A: No.

Q: Why didn’t it look lined up in the video?
A: In person, it does overlay.  The APIs don’t allow for the raw data yet. It gives some sort of data analysis over the raw data, hence the appearance in the video. 

Q: How much of this development is specific to the individual device?  If you were to move away from the HoloLens, is all lost?

A: The nice thing about the HoloLens is everything is self contained right now.  This is the device we have access to.

Q: Sounds like you found this very natural.  What is the learning curve?
A: For the most part, you pick up pretty quickly how to manipulate things on it.  There is some learning curve, but once you get the gestures down, you can pick up it up rather quickly.

Q: Can the HoloLens be sterilized?
A: That part doesn’t need to be sterile.  We wear glasses typically in the OR, and they don’t need to be sterile.

Discussion on Web Accessibility 

We discussed web accessibility issues at Duke and had a quick conversation afterwards 

5:20-5:30 – Ivy+ Update, (5 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:  Representatives from Ivy League schools meet on an annual basis to discuss and share information in various areas.  Topics range from overall university directions, budgets, projects, online learning tools and daily operations. 

Why it’s relevant:  Sharing experiences and discussing challenges with our peers helps to provide a collaborative environment where ideas are formed and problems are solved.  Attendees will share experiences from the conferences held in 2017.

Shawn Miller, who leads the Center for Instructional Technology, presented.  Shawn’s Ivy+ groups is called The Directors of Academic Computing. It is one of the longer standing Ivy+ groups.  It’s a group of about 12 different schools that are peer institutions.  Every semester, they visit a different school.  The meeting agenda is partially about that school and partially about the broader standard of things.  They discuss topics such as learning management systems, teaching and learning, classroom spaces, experimental technologies, and online learning. 

This year’s gathering was hosted at Duke.  Various people helped with presentations. The group toured Smith Warehouse.  They also toured The Link, an innovative and flexible campus facility located on the lower level of Perkins Library.  They discussed an array of topics regarding technology and teaching, including the intersection of research and teaching, generation learning management system, and modes and methods of online learning.

Sean got positive feedback from the visiting groups.  They were particularly impressed by how committed Duke is to projects – The Link being a prime example of that.  They also noted the highly collaborative atmosphere here at Duke.


Q: Are there any projects you would be eager to replicate here? 

A: Some schools are doing a little bit more in the online space.  One school has lofty ideas about leveraging off-campus access to courses.  It would be wise to keep an eye on that 

Q: What about hybrid learning, where you have the residential education but you have components and modules that are online?  Are people investigating that?

A: Most schools do it, but most of our peers don’t advertise it.