VR is making marks in medical training

Traditional textbook or lecture-based learning has been the order of the day for most medical students and clinicians. However, VR is emerging as a viable training tool that improves test scores by 230%, improves efficiency by 20% and accuracy by 38%. The long-term benefits include reducing clinical errors which cost the industry £2.2 billion in 2021.  

The Challenge

Moving from theoretical to practical medical training is fraught with challenges, live patients or cadavers might be an option, but are not without their challenges, including the multiple ethical and moral considerations. Students who know the theory but lack the practical knowledge and confidence that goes with experience aren’t geared up to deal with patients in the real world. As a result, the UK compensation for medical errors was £2.2 billion in 2021- this leaves little room for mistake-driven learning! 

VR In Action

In a recent study two groups of students were asked to perform and be graded on a medical procedure which involved repairing a fractured tibia, one of the bones that run between the knee and the ankle. One group were taught how to carry out this procedure through the medium of a face-to-face lecture and textbooks. The second group was taught using VR which led them through a hyper-realistic experience that provided guidance and judged the accuracy of their motions throughout the course of the operation. After completing their training both groups put what they had learnt into action by operating on artificial “sawbones” models. 

The Outcomes

The results were astounding. The group who had trained using VR were awarded higher grades in every category and had a remarkable overall improvement of 230% in their total score. The VR group completed the procedure 20% faster than their traditionally trained counterparts and completed 38% more steps correctly in the procedure-specific checklist. These results show the potential of VR as a powerful training tool. 

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