/* ---- Google Analytics Code Below */

Friday, June 30, 2023

Doctors Train in Virtual Reality

Doctors Train in Virtual Reality

By Jake Widman

Commissioned by CACM Staff, June 22, 2023

Surgeons collaborate during virtual surgery.

In addition to relevant tools and a patient, the simulations can provide highlights and tool tips or floating diagrams to guide a trainee through performing the surgery.

Healthcare is just one of the many fields finding new uses for extended reality (XR), comprising both augmented and virtual reality.

Virtual reality (VR) in particular is being used for everything from hosting remote support groups for teen cancer patients to giving medical students a taste of the grisly reality of trauma medicine.

Those projects typically are one-off purpose-built implementations of VR, though. The technology has continued to advance and its availability to increase, enabling the creation of more general-purpose applications.

The potential is not lost on VR developers and investors. According to the June 2022 Global AR-VR in Healthcare Market report from Research and Markets, the sector was valued at $2,748 million in 2021, and is expected to reach $9,796 million by 2027.

Two applications identified by Research and Markets as drivers of that growth are medical training and surgery planning.

The U.K.'s Royal College of Surgeons has set up an commission to examine where surgery is headed, and one of its commissioners, plastic surgeon and medical entrepreneur Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, told MobiHealthNews, "We can see the effective use of virtual reality in simulation, in terms of preparation and rehearsal. The challenge here is the cost of scaling, as there are tens of thousands of different procedures with nuances in each of them."

Several companies are tackling the scaling problem.

How surgeons now train

A main value of VR simulation, as exemplified by its use to expose medical students to trauma situations, is to give surgeons an idea of what they can expect to encounter in actual surgery.

Surgery is traditionally taught as a mentorship program, explains Dr. Michael Ast, an orthopedic surgeon and Chief Medical Innovation Officer at New York's Hospital for Special Surgery. "We do didactic teaching in a modified classroom setting, and then we guide our trainees through the operations. Eventually, they start to participate in the procedure."

The problem with that approach is the limited number of those "tens of thousands of different procedures with nuances in each of them" in which a trainee might actually get to participate. Also, those 'nuances' are not about just the mechanics of the surgery, says Dr. Ast; "The farther along into training, the more our trainees come to realize that our job is not just to fix the problem, but also to preserve the rest of the anatomy. The questions tend to change from 'how does this drill work' to 'how do I make sure that when I'm using this drill, I'm not causing damage to other things?'"

Training on generic patient models   ... ' 

No comments: