Virtual Reality Training for Operating Rooms
Virtual reality technology has a wide variety of uses, from practical to entertaining and even life-saving. The aviation industry has used VR for years to improve worker training and reduce airline fatalities by nearly 45%. Health care is another field where lives are on the line, and increasingly, medical professionals are also using VR to improve their training. Medical errors in the healthcare industry are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, but the hope is that that can be reduced with the help of more effective training methods.
Improving Patient Care With Virtual Reality in the Operating Room
Learning to perform surgery is no easy task. Research shows that a surgeon needs to perform a procedure at least 50 times to become fully proficient at it, but when that practice happens in the operating room with a real patient, even under supervision, dangerous mistakes can happen. In smaller hospitals and those in more rural locations, it also may be difficult to get the needed experience; surgeons might go months between procedures of the same type, which slows their learning process. However, in a virtual reality operating room, surgeons can practice procedures over and over again until they’re confident in their abilities without endangering real patients.
Virtual reality training improves operating room performance by placing doctors in an immersive environment just like a real OR and allowing them to get hands-on experience with a simulated patient. Surgeons can practice different procedures, learn to handle complications as they arise, and explore subtle differences in anatomy that can affect how a surgery needs to be performed, all without any risk to a real human being. They can also learn new techniques or refresh their memory on situations they don’t often face. These simulations can also be used to test a surgeon’s skills and assess whether they’re ready to operate independently. With VR, practice really can make perfect, and patients can get the best possible care.