Abbott uses Oculus Go for cardiologist virtual reality training

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Abbott is training interventional cardiologists on the use of its optical coherence tomography imaging technology in virtual reality

Quick read

➨ Virtual reality will be incorporated into the training of interventional cardiologists for its optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technology
➨ Abbott wants to help these medical professions gain experience with new therapy options, imaging and diagnostic tools to help improve patient outcomes
➨ The OCT virtual reality training programme uses Oculus Go

The story

Medical device company Abbott is using virtual reality to train medical professionals on the use of its technology.

Virtual reality will be incorporated into the training of interventional cardiologists for its optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging technology.

US-headquartered Abbott wants to help these medical professions gain experience with new therapy options, imaging and diagnostic tools to help improve patient outcomes.

Virtual reality presents “a promising approach” to OCT training, according to Abbott, because it enables medical professionals to have the full experience of being in the catheterisation laboratory by putting them in the ‘driver’s seat’ with imaging technology.

Abbott’s OCT is an intracoronary imaging platform that helps interventional cardiologists view and assess coronary arteries from inside the vessel with high precision, but training is necessary to deliver results.

Dr Vamsi Krishna of Ascension Seton Hays Medical Center says Abbott’s new virtual reality training programme has provided his team with “the experience of being in the cath lab and understanding OCT technology quickly and efficiently”.

He continues: “The OCT VR programme enhances training for OCT imaging technology through innovative educational programmes. Virtual reality is truly the next wave of training that will ultimately improve patient outcomes and I’m very excited to be a part of the new programme.”

Abbott’s OCT virtual reality training programme uses Oculus Go and is based on the OCT experience of and input from Dr Richard Shlofmitz, chairman of cardiology at St. Francis Hospital, The Heart Center, who has translated new training concepts into improvements in patient care.

The medical device company believes virtual reality can deliver the training necessary to become competent at using OCT and cites three studies demonstrating the immersive technology’s effectiveness.

In one, higher accuracy in medical practice was shown in 87% of studies by those trained with virtual reality versus traditional techniques, while its own research has shown virtual reality techniques improving cath lab staff learning engagement by 45% and knowledge retention by 72%.

Harvinder Singh, vice president of global commercial operations in Abbott’s vascular business, says: “Abbott’s new OCT training enables interventional cardiologists to receive more in-depth, experiential training to encourage more precise diagnoses, while healthcare systems will experience cost savings through a reduction in the number of staff training courses needed.”

“Furthermore, the virtual reality training programme will not only enhance accuracy to improve patient outcomes, but it also furthers the industry’s adoption of innovative technologies in healthcare.”

Dr Nick West, divisional vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer in Abbott’s vascular business, adds: “Virtual reality-based training programmes are truly changing the way interventional cardiologists learn and adopt new technologies, such as OCT, that are helping physicians make better decisions in the cath lab.”

“The programme is also furthering Abbott’s ability to use technology and innovations to drive better patient outcomes.”

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Image: Oculus

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