These days, virtual and augmented reality are becoming household terms, however, in the medical sector, they’re only now beginning to be explored for various purposes. One of the most cutting-edge technologies being implemented by many these days is virtual medical education, which uses VR and AR software to provide an accurate, hands-on training experience from anywhere.
Although it might not replace traditional medical training any time soon, virtual medical education is gaining a lot of traction. This is especially true when it comes to helping medical professionals stay up to date on the very latest processes and procedures; VR medicaltraining helps close that knowledge gap more quickly.
Why Use Virtual Medical Training?
We live in a virtual world where students can do everything from take a tour of the Louvre from their very own classroom or go on a trip inside the human body, so it only makes sense that such technology is being explored in the medical sector. Many who were trained with more traditional methods might seem skeptical, however, the advantages are easy to see. For example, VR training allows students to engage in a unique and exciting way via safe and interactive virtual environments. Additionally, there’s no necessity for an instructor because the instructions and vital information are built into the program, making virtual medical education more economical.
Of course, a students’ performance will still be closely monitored and analyzed to ensure they’ve grasped all of the important information they need and have a clear understanding of medical procedures. Another added benefit to VR medical training is that it allows students to train without the need for endangering patients; they can virtually explore the human body. This also fills a common gap that exists in the medical sector, that of there being a shortage of live patients to train on, leading many to perform a real medical procedure without much prior practice.
Unlike at a traditional school of medicine, students enrolled in virtual education programs will have the chance to explore different procedures, make mistakes, and try again. All of this isn’t to say that VR education should take the place of traditional medical training, however, it can offer a new and sophisticated way of exploring medical techniques hands-on.
How VR/AR Training is Beneficial for Nurses, Surgeons & Paramedics
VR/AR medical training can provide a host of benefits to nurses, surgeons, and paramedics, in addition to students, such as:
- It Helps Keep Medical Training Formalized: AR/VR training can provide a stable, high-performance environment for medical practitioners while also setting standardized skills as well.
- In Resolving Practical & Ethical Dilemmas: For nurses and surgeons, such training can help give them the preparation they need to resolve practical and ethical dilemmas they might encounter on a daily basis. AR/VR training can help prep medical personnel for doing things like delivering hard news and rehearsing complex procedures.
- For Procedures & Self-Control for Paramedics: Paramedics work in high-stress environments. But using the right virtual medical education technology can help them prepare for first-encounter situations and other incidents where they’ll need to think on their toes and exhibit high self-control.
The Differences Between AR & VR Medical Training
One of the key differences between artificial reality and augmented reality medical training is that for AR training, students don’t require a VR helmet. All that’s needed is a tablet, which is held over a mannikin and superimposes internal organs or the hologram of a virtual patient. This makes it even easier for medical students to practice, even while at home. Another benefit is that since AR isn’t fully immersive, it can be combined with both virtual and real medical devices. A good example is when students are working with ultrasound images. AR can provide virtual images of underlying muscles, bones, nerves, tissues, blood vessels, and more. Additionally, since it’s not fully immersive, it enables students to work as teams as well as with an instructor.
Is VR Training What the Medical Sector Needs?
As mentioned above, don’t expect VR/AR training to take the place of traditional medical training anytime soon. However, to keep up with the rapidly evolving medical and surgical landscapes, such technology will inevitably become more sought after due to the solutions it provides. It can help medical practitioners explore new forms of training and treatment, as well as make them more accessible to the people who need them most.
Such technology not only helps provide a better understanding of the human body without the need for practicing on cadavers and live patients but also enables students to practice their skills until they’ve completely mastered them. Virtual environments can also make it easier for students and teachers to connect without the necessity of a brick-and-mortar classroom, something that’s becoming ever more essential in this day and age.