NEW YORK, June 3, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to the cancellation of elective surgeries across the US. This, coupled with the scaling back in face-to-face teaching, limits the hands-on training and experience surgical residents rely on to hone and practice their skills. As a result of this gap, a number of academic medical training programs have linked with FundamentalVR, to explore how VR training programs can allow its orthopedic students to continue their studies remotely. In addition to this work, programs including NYU Langone Health, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Melbourne Orthopaedic Group and the NHS in the UK have come together on a series of workshop webinars to share best practices and discuss needs for the orthopaedic VR curriculum.
In 2018, FundamentalVR created Fundamental Surgery, the first surgical simulation platform to use HapticVRTM, which combines VR with the sense-of-touch to allow surgeons to experience the same sights, sounds and feeling they would in a real procedure. In mid-March 2020, the company released its @HomeVR modality, the only training solution to bring simulations accredited by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons to standalone VR headsets such as Oculus Quest and HTC Vive Focus Plus.
Orthopedic residents from training programs across the country now have access to VR headsets and an orthopedic training platform where they can continue their studies from any location.
“In addition to its impact on the clinical care provided at major academic medical centers across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had a dramatic effect on orthopaedic surgery education and training,” said Dr. Eric Strauss, Associate Professor, Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU Langone Health. “At home VR tools allow residents and fellows to continue their studies and training uninterrupted. Immersive technologies are ideal for the current situation and, until recently, would not have been possible. It will have an ongoing place in our training curriculum even after the current health crisis has passed.”
“During self-isolation,using an at-home VR tool has helped me to use my time productively and keep up with my studies. It provides access to content and a virtual operating room environment that we’re unable to participate in due to the pandemic,” said Dr. Siddharth A. Mahure, a resident physician at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital. “The at-home VR tool allows for review of surgical anatomy and keep fresh with the nuances of the operating room. By practicing at home, my professional development can continue to progress during these unusual times.”
Initially, @HomeVR is being used by residents to support training around Total Hip Arthroplasty (Anterior Approach). In the coming weeks, it will expand to include other simulations within the Fundamental Surgery platform including, Spinal Pedicle Screw, Total Hip Arthroplasty (Posterior), Facetectomy and Total Knee Arthroplasty.
“We are delighted to work with resident surgeons to continue the training they require to become fully qualified,” said Richard Vincent, CEO and co-Founder of FundamentalVR. “With both HapticVR and @HomeVR modalities, the Fundamental Surgery platform is optimized for different stages of learning. The current Coronavirus crisis has brought the flexibility and advantages of remote immersive learning to the fore. Many of the hospitals we work with around the world are looking to rollout similar programs to the initiatives we are launching in New York. We are look forward to supporting more resident programs as they continue to function during the COVID-19 crisis in the coming weeks.”