The virtues of virtual simulation technology

Wired Science recently wrote an interesting overview of how virtual simulations are increasingly being used to prepare future surgeons before they get given the knife and let loose on their patients. The article is well worth a read.

The use of virtual simulations for health care professionals has often been compared to the use of flight simulations in aviation, as was the case in this article. This echoes the sentiment of Dr Terry Poulton from St George’s University of London at the recent International Conference on Virtual Patients (ICVP) 2009 held in Krakow, Poland. You can listen to Terry talk about the state of Virtual Patient technology here.
[audio:http://www.virtualpatients.eu/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/icvp_day01_terry_poulton.mp3]

But back to the article – it makes perfect sense for budding surgeons to hone their skills before they perform surgery on their patients, and evidently more institutions are embracing this technology in their curricula.

Here you can watch the Wired Science video of how researchers at Stanford University use a virtual reality simulator for sinus surgery.

Of course eViP is focused on virtual patient scenarios that are used to help the students develop their clinical reasoning skills, rather than virtual simulation technology. However, they form part of the broad spectrum of e-learning technology.

If you are interested in how people use virtual patients, then you can read the results of the eViP 2008 survey, and you can watch Dr David Davies from the University of Warwick discuss the results here.

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