VR: Your Competitive Edge vs. Other Medical Universities
How do you differentiate your medical school from all the top universities in the country? You can pull in top-tier professors, extensively try to improve test and success rates, or add little niceties that make the school seem more appealing to a fickle student body. Or, you could add flash and results all at once through virtual reality (VR) training software that turns students into residents and residents into surgeon efficiently.
What is ImmersiveTouch?
Created by a group of engineers and surgeons, ImmersiveTouch is a cutting-edge VR platform that allows students and seasoned surgeons alike to practice complex procedures within realistic simulations. This VR program uses table-mounted controllers that provide haptic feedback to simulate the feeling of incisions and procedures - a true operating room experience. Developers of simulated procedures can also integrate gauges and sounds for surgeons to monitor with headphones built-in to current VR headsets. With sight, sound, space and touch, residents and students can accurately train muscle-memory in a safe, repeatable environment.
ImmersiveTouch provides a 360-degree operating environment, giving students experience that no video or textbook could convey. It’s a learning tool that is second only to an operating room.
Running a medical university is expensive. Embracing emerging VR technology can help cut costs and potentially improve the educational experience. Compare advanced simulations with these traditional methods:
Cadavers have been a staple in medical training and research for ages. With an estimated $3,000 to $5000 price tag for each, cadavers can eat away at a budget pretty quickly. Using VR to replace even a fraction of cadavers used in the curriculum could save a medical department thousands of dollars per student. Furthermore, while cadavers are a one-and-done learning tool, VR has the added bonus of being endlessly reusable, and the lessons can be continuously changed to give students experience with a variety of scenarios and patient body-types.
Space and time are limited in your university’s classrooms and operating theaters. More importantly than that, the number of available patients fitting one affliction or another is entirely up to chance. It’s almost impossible to give every student an adequate amount of time practicing or observing every single important procedure, and that doesn’t even bring in the risks to patients themselves. Everyone has to have their first time, but imagine if that first live incision came with the precision of 1,000 accurately simulated cuts.
Observation & Didactics
VR has the ability to give students the sights, sounds, and feel of the operating room while guiding them through procedures with built-in lessons. Traditionally, professors must educate and guide countless students through many procedures using textbooks and while observing procedures. Again, there’s limited room in clinics, but VR solves that problem by allowing potentially every student to witness an operation from start to finish, up close and from any angle. Plus, they can pause, rewind, and resume as often as they like, and trace the motions themselves. All the while, valuable textbook information and steps are floating right next to the relevant body parts and actions of the professor. Professors can effortlessly lead an entire classroom through a VR lesson and train more students at a time, making one professor do the job of many.
The use of VR training for medical procedures has also shown to increase a student’s performance in classroom settings. For example, students performing a pedicle screw placement surgery showed a 53.4% in error reduction after practicing the procedure with ImmersiveTouch technology, compared with peers who merely received a lecture.
With increasing class sizes, professors at large universities can have issues dedicating enough time for each students’ individual learning style. By switching from practice in a fully-stocked operation room that only fits a couple students, to practice with VR headsets that can give a classroom of residents hands-on experience, professors could increase the amount of time each student gets to perfect basic skills, and spend more individual time with each student with the freed up classroom resources.
VR could also improve the performance of medical students in a more empirical way. Instead of relying on an instructors’ opinions and glances at their work on, say, cadavers, students can be evaluated based on an objective ratings. Within the ImmersiveTouch platform, numerical scoring of the accuracy, speed, and stability of movements are immediately provided to students after each use, and are then recorded to assess for longitudinal improvement. Compared to traditional methods of training, VR can help create a more accurate measure of a students’ performance, and give them a standardized guide for improvement over the course of their studies.
The Wow Factor
VR has been in the public consciousness for far longer than it has been commercially available. It makes sense - the idea of diving into entirely different worlds and living other lives is captivating. But now that the potentials are less sci-fi and more practical, VR products not only capture the imagination, but enhances it and makes more possibilities seem plausible. When implemented not as a gimmick, but instead as a comprehensive learning program, VR stands out from virtually all other programs because of its engaging way to deliver information and skills.
When students are thumbing through brochures and taking a look at your university’s website, the VR training is going to stand out. It’s going to be a tipping point that not many other medical schools can compete with.
Help Your University Enter a New Reality
Attracting students and precious tuition dollars can be tough in a crowded marketplace. Your school’s reputation is a somewhat fixed factor over the short term as you slowly make this improvement or that great new hire or win those awards for your program. Implementing innovative virtual reality technology for medical training is a great way to improve the perceived and actual value of your university, right away.