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Virtual reality to enter the operating room

Quand la réalité virtuelle entre dans le bloc opératoire
Published on
21 June 2019

Virtual reality (VR) demonstrates growing promise for training in the medical sector. Given the delicate or impossible nature of organizing training on live patients, VR programs offer a unique opportunity for medical students to practice solving complex problems and procedures. Grenoble Ecole de Management has entered into a collaboration to provide a new VR training program that will focus on the prevention of surgical site infections.

Surgical site infection is a serious and prevalent issue that threatens the lives of millions of patients around the world. In response, Grenoble Ecole de Management has partnered with University Grenoble Alpes, Imperial College London, Heidelberg University and the startup, Simango, in order to deliver the first VR training program for infection control in operating rooms

“With almost 800,000 cases of infection and 16,000 deaths per year in the EU, infections due to surgery represent a serious healthcare risk. Yet this risk can easily be attenuated by adequate infection control measures. Proper training is essential to implement quality infection control,” explains  Neva Bojovic, a PhD candidate and member of the Grenoble Ecole de Management Business Model Research team.

Virtual reality enables complex training in at-risk environments

When training students to control infections at surgical sites, the primary challenge is the fact that operating rooms are tightly controlled environments in which it is difficult to organize hands-on training. “Operating rooms are complex environments and medical students need to be prepared to handle a variety of challenges. VR training offers an immersive learning experience all the while eliminating the risks of inviting students into an operating room,” adds Neva.

By partnering with Simango, a startup specialized in the development of simulation-based education tools, the partner schools and universities aim to deliver an original and efficient training program that is both attractive to students and facilitates their learning process. “New generations of medical students are used to novel technology. They’re open to learning through innovative methods such as virtual reality training. As infection control is often underrepresented in medical curricula, this partnership will kill two birds with one stone,” explains Neva.

A wide range of applications

Virtual reality offers an excellent means to provide training in any at risk environment. Although operating rooms are difficult to access, this VR program can change the rules of the game. In addition, it can be easily adapted to meet the needs of various universities and countries. “Instead of focusing on mistakes, the program will focus on creating an immersive, amusing and memorable training experience that will encourage the success of students. Thanks to this project, medical students will be better prepared to face the challenges of infection control in operating rooms,” concludes Neva. 

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