Doug Halsall | Virtual reality and medical education | News


Living in the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons and ways to continue with our activities and other aspects of life despite the restrictions that have prevented many physical interactions. All aspects of life have been affected, and some continue to be.

The impact on health and medical fraternity has been felt in countless ways, and this includes the ability to continue teaching new students and providing continuing education, which is an important part of the profession. Distance online learning is nothing new, but it has been used a lot more over the past year and a half across the education system.

Medical education is such that practical experience is an important part of the requirements and is well suited for experiential learning which in many ways is an integral part of medical practice. This is where the use of virtual reality (VR) can have a significant impact. Virtual reality is not new to healthcare, although its genesis is in the video game industry. It has been adapted over time to meet the needs of the ever-changing medical field.


VR is a three-dimensional computer simulation that can include various images in a complete environment. Once in this world, a person can fully interact with the elements therein as if they were also part of the created environment. This is what makes it perfect for the medical industry, in addition to the fact that there can be multiple users working together and directly interacting with each other, in the created environment, but without having to be at the same. place.

Virtual reality in healthcare is increasingly becoming an option as the world changes to include improved distance communication and knowledge exchange. It can be completely immersive, which means that one can simulate a complete lesson that mimics reality and a real situation in the classroom.

Virtual reality can facilitate distance learning, especially technical issues in healthcare. Using virtual reality, for example, students can visualize a three-dimensional model of body organs and perform simulated operations on them in the created environment. The simulation can be so precise that it would be close to the same experience as the real thing. This is useful for a safe and practical introduction to technical topics and as a teaching aid for medical students new to the body.

Fortune Business Insights, in its report titled “Virtual Reality in Healthcare Market”, stated that “Global virtual reality in healthcare market size amounted to US $ 1.56 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach US $ 30-40 billion by 2026, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.4 percent ”. Predictions for the continued and increased use of virtual reality are excellent, especially in today’s environment where the use of technology in healthcare is increasing.


Besides education, there are other ways to apply VR to the medical field.

The use of VR in surgical procedures and as a diagnostic tool is expected to increase as the technology becomes more prevalent. VR can be used to assist with surgical procedures, especially those of a technical and difficult nature that require a high level of precision. In one study, VR was used to allow a doctor and radiologists to “look through” a patient’s blood vessel to insert a catheter.

This research, conducted by the University of Washington Medical Center, “demonstrated how a catheter with electromagnetic sensors could be directed by the physician using this VR technology. Radiologists use imaging techniques to maneuver catheters through blood vessels to accurately treat patients with blood clots, strokes, cancer, and various other conditions. Using this virtual reality platform, the average time it took for doctors to reach target blood vessels was much less than the traditional x-ray method, known as fluoroscopy. Radiologists later confirmed that the use of VR made “treatment simpler, more precise and more effective.” Doctors also said they felt more confidence in the procedure when using VR. (

There are several other cases for VR technology in healthcare that can improve various processes and improve patient care. Over time, virtual reality is expected to become an integral part of the delivery of routine health care.

– Doug Halsall is President and CEO of Advanced Integrated Systems. Email your comments to [email protected] and é[email protected]

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