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MissionRehearsal® VR Training Platform

Virtual Reality Will Revolutionize Medical Training

Virtual reality is no longer just fun and games - literally. It’s changing the way companies view the future. It’s being used for urban police training, improving food and transportation safety, providing immersive shopping experiences and helping to improve the quality of corporate recruiting. It’s changing medicine and saving lives by allowing surgeons to virtually immerse themselves in complex surgical pathways to conduct brain surgery, separate conjoined twins and more. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are the future, and it is where big name companies are investing their time and money. It’s also where they are creating jobs. You need to know what’s up with VR and AR. Here’s the scoop.

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VR represents big money

The VR market is at a full boil now and it is set to explode worldwide in the coming decade. Revenues from the global VR market are estimated to be around $14 billion currently, with a forecast that it will reach $143 billion by 2020.

Facebook didn’t want to lose out. It purchased Oculus VR, a virtual reality pioneer, for $2 billion to expand its gaming offerings and use the technology to reinvent social networks, meetings and messaging. It has also purchased another 11 VR companies worth an additional $2.16 billion. Venture capital firm Rothenberg Ventures has made 32 investments in the industry and HTC, the company that produces Vive VR goggles, has invested in 28 VR/AR startups. Intel, Comcast and Disney have invested heavily in the technology as well. Intel is busy making corporate acquisitions alongside Facebook, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and others.

Companies big and small are investing in VR

Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon top the list of companies aggressively investing in the technology but any company that wants to improve training while reducing costs is adopting or seriously considering VR.

The applications are as wide ranging as the companies employing them.

  • Walmart established 170 training academies that teaches managers and employees how to handle the holiday rush and manage shoppers on the floor.
  • Coca-Cola’s Christmas magic campaign began three years ago and each year it gives users the ability to see virtual Santa and hidden Christmas scenes in branded bus stops throughout New York City, signs in malls and on Coca-Cola soda bottles.
  • Amazon, Remy Martin and numerous other retailers are using VR to create immersive shopping experiences.
  • UPS teaches drivers how to navigate the roads.
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department uses VR to create more than 360 realistic, heart pounding training scenarios with analysis for its deputies.
  • Carson Palmer, the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals uses VR in his home as another way of immersing himself in the playbook.
  • All of this investment and adoption of VR has led to an increase of jobs. According to some sources, the number of VR jobs posted on Linkedin has tripled in the past two years.

    VR is a natural fit for Medical training and education

    That brings us to the most beneficial application of VR for the human race – medical and surgical training and education. In the medical arena, VR can save lives and improve outcomes. It can radically change the way surgeons prepare and train for complex surgeries and can make some surgeries possible that previously were never save enough to attempt. VR is also quickly become indispensable in training medical residents on rarely performed procedures. Many of these rare surgeries require speed and accuracy to save lives. VR helps physicians to maintain critical skills.

    Medical students can also explore complex organs like the heart and the brain. VR allows them to go “inside” the organs, “walk around” and see for themselves how they operate and how disease impacts their function. VR also allows students to explore the human body as a whole and its multiple, interconnected systems.

    When it comes to surgery, students and experienced surgeons alike can explore surgical pathways and perform “hands on” surgery without risk to the physician or patient. Mistakes can be learned from and new skills can be learned safely.

    As Forbes reported, VR helped surgeons separate conjoined twins in Minnesota in 2017. The technology is being used by the National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center to find weak spots on viruses. It helps treat PTSD in soldiers and vastly improves patient education, walking them through treatments and surgeries to reduce anxiety and improve patient compliance with post-surgical treatment.

    Perhaps one of the most important applications of VR is reducing mortality rates for mothers and babies. Physicians can be placed in the middle of an obstetric emergency and learn how to treat the mother and baby to reduce mortality and improve patient outcomes. It’s experiential learning that creates stress and gets the adrenalin flowing, just like in real world situations. Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona hosts a conference dedicated to this training and so far it is the largest of its kind with 500 attendees from countries around the world.

    Innovation in the field

    When considering the adoption of VR for medical training the following elements should be in place:

  • Patient specific visuals: DICOM data from CT, MRI and other diagnostic scans
  • Haptic surgical simulation
  • A range of VR experiences for training including:
  • Surgical simulation
  • Virtual medical instructions for use (IFUs)
  • MOA exploration to explore molecules
  • Medical device incorporation to experience and train on the device outside of the OR suite
  • ImmersiveTouch is considered a trailblazer in the field of VR/AR technology because of its ability to combine revolutionary technology with comprehensive, innovative applications that address real world medical practice. It’s training systems are purchased by major teaching hospitals across the United States including Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Its applications are used in teaching settings for:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Ophthalmology
  • Anesthesiology
  • ENT
  • Surgical oncology
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