Vancouver-based Precision OS has received accreditation from a professional development provider of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada for its orthopaedic surgery virtual reality (VR) training platform.
Precision’s software allows practicing surgeons to perform simulated medical procedures in a realistic digital operating room and offers metric feedback to help users improve their techniques.
Orthopedic surgeons in Canada must undertake continuing medical education (CME) throughout their careers to demonstrate competency. The accreditation means that they can now train in VR using Precision’s platform.
CME in Canada consists of three sections that need to be completed annually. Section 1 covers group learning, section 2 focuses on self-learning and section 3 covers performance appraisal. Training on Precision’s platform will contribute toward this last area.
Dr Danny Goel, founder and chief executive officer of Precision, commented: “Accreditation for Precision means that an independent national organisation has reviewed our simulation and deemed it to be appropriate for a high level of education consistent with formal evaluation of surgeon performance. More importantly, it speaks to the quality of education that we provide where a highly regarded organisation like the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada will provide section 3 credits for users of this particular simulation model.”
“Most institutions and surgeons are convinced about the utility and impact of immersive virtual reality.” As a practicing and operating surgeon, Goel says “the offering of CME through VR further provides evidence of our agenda at Precision OS, which is to provide the highest quality of medical education possible to our colleagues and peers”.
Precision’s VR platform, which is currently being used in 10 medical institutions across North America and was the recipient of $2.3 million in funding late last year, focuses on orthopaedics, but the benefits of VR should not be considered as specific to any one procedure or implant, according to Goel.
“The content is what provides the solution to the real-world problem. Harnessing that solution within virtual reality is where the power rests. All aspects of training can be positively impacted with immersive medical education. That purpose in our mind is to educate surgeons and how to become proficient in multiple domains.”
“This includes understanding anatomy, correlating this with advanced imaging including X-ray, CT and MRI and, lastly, putting this all together to perform a patient-specific surgical procedure. By virtue of its definition, simulation is defined as imitating the real world. What Precision builds in their content and displays in virtual reality abides by this adage.”
A key benefit of any VR training platform is the feedback that can be gained from its use. Precision has received feedback from several hundred surgeons, residents, fellows, nurses and company representatives in the last two years.
Goel says: “We have iterated immensely and have focused on what our users want to see and not see. This has been the greatest benefit to receiving feedback. Naturally, the initial reaction of virtual reality is always positive, but getting past the excitement of this new technology is where the answer really rests.”
“We have learned a significant amount from our users and from individuals who we least anticipate would use VR. Our product today is different then yesterday which is the foundation of why feedback is so critical to our organisation. The most detrimental outcome for VR would be the inability to see its value. This is why the responsibility of content creation weighs heavily. Misrepresentation of education in VR could have grave consequences. This is something at Precision OS we do not take lightly. Imagine if the aviation industry decided to train their pilots in a non-immersive, non-realistic simulator under ideal conditions?”
Going forward, Goel says feedback from and constant dialogue with Precision’s partners is crucial.
Goel says: “We want to learn as much today as we did two years ago about our content. The absence of progression would be a great failure given how advanced the technology has become. Several enhancements will occur as we build more and more content, including performance metrics and evaluation. Several aspects come to mind but the most important is whether we truly are preparing surgeons for their future? Every patient is unique so the skills we confer onto the trainees is of paramount importance.”
Image credits: Precision OS