Virtual Reality is the Future of Medicine

What does it really feel like to manage an emergency in the operating room? The Cleveland Clinic Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery is using virtual reality (VR) simulations of OR cardiac emergencies to replicate the experience as closely as possible and train cardiac surgery residents. “The two-minute video shows how Cleveland Clinic is using virtual reality scenarios to teach cardiac surgery residents how to maintain ideal performance under the pressure of OR crises.” The VR simulations incorporate scenarios from real operations to create an immersive, realistic, 360-degree experience that includes the viewpoints of multiple members of the surgical team. The scenarios map right decisions, wrong decisions, and their consequences.

This video, narrated by Douglas Johnston, MD, the cardiac surgeon who heads the program, shows the scenario of a patient who has gone into ventricular fibrillation as seen through the VR headset of a surgical resident.

From the study on pubmed.gov:

The traditional system of clinical education in emergency medicine relies on practicing diagnostic, therapeutic, and procedural skills on live patients. The ethical, financial, and practical weaknesses of this system are well recognized, but the alternatives that have been explored to date have shown even greater flaws. However, ongoing progress in the area of virtual reality and computer-enhanced simulation is now providing educational applications that show tremendous promise in overcoming most of the deficiencies associated with live-patient training. It will be important for academic emergency physicians to become more involved with this technology to ensure that our educational system benefits optimally.

Medical Students: are you excited to use virtual reality when performing medical procedures? If you want to learn just how far we’ve come in medicine, make sure to read our post on a virtual reality experience on the human body.

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