Pocket guide for planning virtual reality (VR) laboratory studies for medical schools

custom furniture for VR-based conference room

At the top is a fully customized conference table with a single hinge mounted on the edge that allows you to open the table in the direction of the projection screen, allowing each participant an unobstructed view.

workbench laboratory training room furniture

Mobile laboratory furniture made to measure by Formaspace offers educational institutions the maximum flexibility to rearrange the designs of laboratories and classrooms as needed.

Everything you need to know about setting up a virtual reality lab study when planning new construction projects or renovations to medical schools.

The aim here is to offer the maximum possible realism, to make a convincing experience for the user, providing visual environments of quality of games in real time with tactile feedback (tactile) ”.

– Formaspace

AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA, July 1, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ – In his recent forecast of emerging market trends in 2021, consulting giant Deloitte predicted that the market for digital reality products and services with faster growth (defined by Deloitte as virtual, augmented and mixed reality) will be the business and education markets, driven by the rapid adoption of virtual training applications.

Following this trend, many virtual reality (VR) developers are targeting medical schools, where they find a welcome reception for new virtual reality-based training products.

We’ll take a look at what facility planners, architects, and designers need to know about this fast-growing market, as well as tips on how to host virtual reality lab studios when planning new construction projects or major renovations. in medical schools.

Key benefits of using virtual reality-based training applications in medical education

Why the rapid adoption of virtual reality-based training by medical schools?

The answer probably lies in the historical history of simulation training at many leading medical schools, which pioneered the use of Simulation-Based Medical Education (SBME) tools and staff.

SBME centers dedicated to medical schools have been at the forefront of realistic simulated environments created long before virtual reality appeared on the scene.

For example, SMBE innovators pioneered the use of realistic human mannequins with prosthetic body parts in operation that allow students to practice examination procedures, life-saving emergency room procedures, and even surgical operations. simulated.

SMEs have also long relied on hiring “simulated patient” human actors to help train young medical students on how to conduct individual patient meetings, long before they meet their first living patient.

In this spirit of innovation, cutting-edge VR applications have found a welcoming audience among small and medium-sized business professionals, who can appreciate many of the benefits that well-made VR-based simulation tools can offer in training medical schools.

1. Create a safe and simulated environment for students to learn new skills and techniques, and even make mistakes, without the consequences of interacting with a live patient.

2. Improving patient outcomes by enabling students (or practicing physicians to re-learn a new technique) to gain experience and build experience through targeted training applications; For example, learning new surgical techniques.

3. Provide educators with the way to conduct assessments of direct learning and summative competencies of a learner’s progress, which can be difficult to rely on in written tests or other traditional assessment methods.

4. Reduce costs in many cases, for example, by allowing students to practice at their own pace without increasing the labor costs of instructors or staff.

5. Allow students, even those who are thousands of miles away, to work together in a virtual environment and learn from each other.

What is the state of the art in VR training applications for medical education?

From the point of view of facility planning, we can divide the virtual reality market into two broad categories.

The first category is the high-fidelity VR market, which offers users (who wear specially designed headphones known as VR glasses) a totally immersive photorealistic representation.

The goal here is to provide as much realism as possible, to make a compelling experience for the user, by providing quality real-time gaming visual environments with tactical feedback (e.g.) when handling a virtual tool. , such as a scalpel in the case of a surgical training simulation.

This immersive real-time experience comes at a cost, however. It requires a significant capital investment to acquire and maintain the sophisticated computer graphics hardware and high-end headphones used by users, as well as the cost to develop or acquire the software that runs the training simulation.

(We will address hardware and software budgets shortly, with updated information provided by Oguz Ormanci).

High-fidelity simulations have their place, but educators have also found that quite a few training simulations can be performed with cheap, low-end consumer headphones, including Google Cardboard bareboard headphones, which, like their name indicates, they are literally distinguished from cardboard folded with a hole to insert a smartphone that serves as a screen.

Unfortunately, Google recently stopped making cardboard headphones, but other vendors have intervened with cheap consumer headphones.

These low-power systems do not offer the same level of realism, so users will not feel like they are in a totally immersive environment, but for many well-designed training applications it is enough.

The advantage of these “cheap and cheerful” low-cost VR systems (to borrow an expression from the British) is that they can be widely deployed, using ordinary high-speed Internet connections, which offer students access to tools. learning based on virtual reality. the comfort of your student home, bedroom, classroom, or lab. They also open the opportunity for students from around the world to work together on the same virtual reality simulation in a 3D version of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Planning and staffing strategies for the VR Lab Studio space

If you are an architect or designer working on a medical education facility project, whether it is a new facility or a major remodel, you will want to include space for a virtual reality lab in your programming proposals, up to and all if your client has no plans for a VR implementation.

The location of the VR lab in the educational institution is an interesting issue in itself.

As a new technology, a virtual reality lab could “fit” within one or more different organizational departments.

The ideal location will depend on the client, including whether they start from scratch or have the option to take advantage of existing facilities and / or staff talent. It is also important whether it is a high-end VR solution or a low-end solution, as the hardware and space requirements are different.

These are the most common departments that could “own” a VR lab in a medical education setting.

1. Simulation center

Many medical schools have or are in the process of creating SBME facilities dedicated to educating medical students, and may be the ideal place to locate a new VR lab.

For example, the new UTBB health education center has an operating ambulance dock, two simulated operating rooms, ten ICU rooms, more than 30 private examination rooms, all dedicated to creating a hospital environment. simulated to train medical students. In planning this new facility, a large portion of the main plant was reserved for the development of a future VR lab.

In this simulation center, medical training staff could be harnessed to conduct virtual reality-based training, but additional technicians would need to be put into service and advanced VR lab equipment maintained.

2. Desktop-based RV managed by the help desk

At the other end of the spectrum are low-cost headset-based systems that can be supplied and used anywhere that has high-speed Internet access.

In this scenario, it is plausible to leverage existing Help Desk services to provide technical support to students and instructors.

3. Library

Another suitable candidate department to “host” a VR lab is the medical library of an educational institution, which has extensive experience in sourcing, maintaining, and organizing access to materials and equipment used by instructors and students.

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Julia Solodovnikova
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