Virtual reality (VR) is changing how healthcare operates. Here’s how VR training can prepare surgeons for the real thing.
Virtual reality (VR) was never just about entertainment. Its practical applications now go far beyond video games as companies rely on the technology to process data, communicate, learn, and more. Medical training, especially in surgery, has benefitted more than other industries.
Thanks to VR, surgeons can train remotely in different areas of interest. The virtual experience is so advanced that even accrediting bodies see it as valid practice. Here’s a breakdown of what VR technology already does for surgical training.
1. Surgical Theory
Solutions like SyncThink and Surgical Theater focus on specific needs like diagnosis and anatomical representation. At the same time, you can find VR platforms that contain everything from data and reading materials to realistic operations, all in one place.
A major advantage to VR applications in modern healthcare is the amount and quality of knowledge a surgeon can get from each session. The range of available content means that there are more diverse and fun ways to absorb medical theory.
Since not everyone learns in the same way or at the same pace, this simple benefit is actually life-changing—for patients as much as doctors. What’s more, apart from educating a surgeon, clear and interactive 3D content can also prepare them for an operation.
2. Surgical Operations
On a hands-on level, VR offers impressive tools. Look at a leading surgical training platform like FundamentalVR. To begin with, it currently has simulations in orthopedics and ophthalmology, while working with specialized devices to promote products and procedures.
What makes its virtual platform special is its focus on perfecting force-feedback haptics for surgeons, which mimic real-life sensations. Moreover, you get realistic sounds and visuals for maximum immersion.
Go through enough of these simulations, and the least you can improve is muscle memory, technical knowledge, and familiarity with all kinds of medical situations. Such powerful training experiences are a result of constant innovation.
Blending technologies and teaching methods are of particular interest to developers. It combines tools like video, whiteboards, data analytics, and messaging to make all virtual exercises more interactive and enlightening.
3. Teamwork in the Operating Theater and Classroom
Surgical operations typically need more than one person, so another important ability virtual training can help with is working with others—whether you’re leading, assisting, teaching, or simply watching the simulation.
With VR technology, you can collaborate with users from all over the world. Even better, if each member has quality haptic gear, the experience is more effective for everyone involved. Just observing a session is very educational and perfectly acceptable as part of your training.
In fact, since learning needs just as much teamwork, FundamentalVR and similar multilayered platforms do their best to offer different ways for users to interact. For example, you can set up online lectures, study groups, or meetings with tutors to discuss your performance.
4. Improving With Data-Based Evidence
Developers of digital technology, in general, put a lot of effort into making it the most helpful innovation possible. That’s how data analysis and its benefits became incorporated in the best VR platforms for surgical training.
They can collect information based on every move you make in your sessions, from successes and mistakes to hand stability and eye coordination. These details are recorded in a personal account for you to examine and find where you can improve.
Considering how insightful data analysis can be, advances are being made to boost the amount, detail, and efficiency of information collected. AI and deep learning are key ingredients, their advances going hand in hand with healthcare.
5. Using Multiple Devices
As already mentioned, combining more technologies is a dream gradually coming true for surgeons training through virtual means. A handy accomplishment in this department is simply having access to your data from any device.
This means that you can train in the VR headset, record your progress, and then open your files from the same device, a PC, tablet, or smartphone.
But the aim is more ambitious than that. For example, developers hope to make your phone as effective to train with as it is to observe or chat.
For the time being, cross-platform accessibility in VR surgical training mainly involves navigation, communication, and performance tracking tools. Which, as it goes, is a good foundation to build on.
6. Learning from Your Mistakes
As Osso VR points out, repeating procedures and measuring skills help shorten the learning curve in surgical training. In other words, trainees using VR tools really can build knowledge and muscle memory faster and more productively. Above all, they’re better prepared for real-life situations.
Interestingly, making mistakes is part of the learning process. Users are encouraged to try different moves in virtual simulations to see what happens and deal with the consequences without worrying about a real patient, for example.
Virtual reality basically gives surgeons a safe and comfortable environment to explore their profession in detail, both at home and their workplace.
7. Building Confidence
The point of all these exercises is to help trainees believe in themselves. This is essential to a good surgeon, evident in research like a 2019 study published in the Journal of Surgical Education.
It found that personal expectations, skill development, feedback, and a supportive environment are among several internal and external influencing factors. Ultimately, surgeons can’t excel in their profession without plenty of practice and encouragement.
VR and surgical institutions backing it strives to cover all these needs. Doctors’ wellbeing is the priority, but there’s also the matter of medicine and technology constantly changing. So, it’s essential that training providers prepare healthcare professionals for anything.
8. Surgical Accreditation
Finally, the standards of VR surgical training programs are often high enough to meet accreditation requirements. Data gathered from a trainee’s virtual application of theory and technical skills count towards their official qualification.
This is thanks to institutions like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) embracing VR as a valid source of professional experience.
The more VR technology evolves in this industry, the more recognition it’ll likely get from authorities.
Discover Just How Much Digital Technology Supports Healthcare
VR is a technology worth watching, especially regarding its contribution to vital parts of modern society. When it comes to training surgeons, it can transfer complex skills, analyze users’ performance, and bring professionals together online. And that’s only the beginning of what it can do for healthcare.
But VR is not the only technology invested in people’s wellbeing. Smart gadgets and mobile apps galore can tackle everything from tracking your sleep and heart rate to keeping you fit. Whatever your interest as a casual or professional user, you’ll find something to suit you.