Siemens, the German medical technology giant, is now offering virtual reality training to help surgeons and technicians practice how to use its mobile 3D imaging system, Cios Spin. The training module was created in collaboration with PrecisionOS, a Canada-based software company that offers virtual reality training and simulators.
According to the report of PrecisionOS, this training module features a hyper-realistic virtual environment, which is a vital factor for users to transfer the skills they gain in the virtual environment to real-world medical operating rooms. In addition, there are multiuser, peer-to-peer sessions that will facilitate the communication and exchange of surgical experience. With these features, they hope to create a more authentic and effective training experience and lead to better patient care, quality, and safety in the operating rooms.
Though more data are needed to tell its effectiveness, the application of virtual reality in medical education is very promising. Surgical education is costly, and a lot of surgery residents do not get enough hands-on experience even when they graduate, which affects their confidence and readiness to perform core medical procedures independently. Virtual reality medical training can significantly reduce the cost and offer a safe, scalable, convenient, realistic environment for residents to practice, make mistakes, get feedback and make progress.
Yet, there are some obstacles to be handled to make this technology to be more widely applied. In order to create a more immersive experience in virtual operating rooms, the training is required to be delivered via immersive head-mounted displays and software, which will create an extra cost. Besides, though virtual reality is not new, the history use and extensive trials are still quite limited, which may prevent some institutions from adopting this new training method. In addition, many training sessions are not responsive enough, especially haptic response, and this shortcoming makes the quality and experience of virtual reality medical training compromised.
Virtual reality medical training is promising, with some obstacles to overcome to be widely adopted, and the collaboration between Siemens and PrecisionOS will certainly take it a step further.