Advancing Virtual Reality Training for Surgeons

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At the recent Oculus Developers Conference in California, Sandra Humbles, Vice President of Global Education Solutions for Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies, explained that from the start, she and her team thought virtual reality (VR) training could help surgeons learn new procedures faster than traditional teaching methods such as watching videos or reading textbooks. Now, they have data to back up VR’s effectiveness.

The Imperial College London recently conducted a study at the residency level that investigated the clinical impact of VR in surgical education, using the training module for the Anterior Hip Approach from the Johnson & Johnson Institute.

“Modern surgical training is a challenge as there are working time restrictions and fewer opportunities to learn on patients in real life,” said hip surgeon, Dr. Kartik Logishetty, who authored the study. “Virtual reality training demonstrates that a lot of the learning curve can be moved outside of the operating theater altogether, so surgeons are prepared for surgery with their cognitive and motor skills, as well as their nontechnical skills even before they get there.”

Key findings of the study included 83% of VR trained surgeons were able to perform surgery in a lab setting with minimal guidance, whereas none of the traditionally trained surgeons were able to do the same. The surgeons who trained at any level in VR also out-performed all the non-VR trained surgeons in the study. This independent validation of our work is propelling us to go even further.

What would have been nearly impossible just a short while ago, is now within the reach of the J&J Institute because of two new strategic partnerships. With the portability of Quest from Oculus and the support of development partner Osso VR, the Institute will be scaling access to its VR training platform to make this technology available to every surgeon in every hospital.

In working closely with our two new strategic partners, our VR training will ultimately enable surgeons to connect with each other in a virtual space. This will pave the way for exciting new opportunities in the areas of training, coaching and mentorship.

“It’s exciting to see us take this tech-forward training solution to the next level – building on our deep commitment to enhancing human health through professional education,” says Aldo Denti, Company Group Chairman, Global Orthopaedics. “This will drive greater standardization in surgical procedures and ultimately help improve patient outcomes around the world.”