The Canadian university announces plans for new medical training center composed entirely of VR simulations.
Queen’s University will be partnering with SimforHealth, a European company experienced in developeding VR software, and HTC to create an 8,000 square foot clinical simulation space that will train prospective doctors and study the impact of VR on education in order to develop more useful content for future classes.
Using HTC VIVE headsets and software created by SimforHealth, medical students will be able to engage in emergency situations, conduct consultations with virtual patients, as well as familiarize themselves with various medical operations. This will help shape and improve future medical curriculums, as well as prevent patients from becoming a doctor’s first test-subject so to speak.
“There was a time when physicians performed their first procedures and did the majority of their learning on patients,” says Dr. Dan Howes, Director of the Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences Clinical Simulation Center. “Virtual reality offers exciting new opportunities for us to realistically simulate a wide range of clinical situations. We want learners to make all their beginner mistakes in the virtual environment, not on real patients.”
As improvements in VR continue to offer higher resolution experiences and more accurate motion controls, expect the technology to deliver far more effective training to those in the field of medicine.
This is, however, far from Queen’s University’s first run-in with virtual reality technology. The facilities psychology department has also established a virtual reality lab to run psychological experiments in a more controlled setting, as well as their EQUIS Lab which is working to create “exergames,” which are games that combine entertainment with physical activity.
Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif. was the first university in the U.S. to incorporate virtual reality in their medical curriculum, according to HealthTech.
Since then, schools like Queen’s University have followed suit, establishing their own VR training labs across the globe. In fact, recent forecasts predict the VR and AR healthcare market will reach $5.1 billion by 2025.
As the demand for trained surgeons continues to rise, VR training could be an efficient, cost-effective, method for training the next wave pof medical professionals.