How VR Medical Simulation Improves the Skills of Medical Pros
Virtual reality gives surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals better access to training at lower costs
Articles | Healthcare | Use Case | Training/Simulation
4 min read
As the global population ages, the demand for skilled healthcare workers will only continue to grow. In an effort to train a new generation of doctors, surgeons, and nurse practitioners, healthcare educators are turning to VR medical simulations to give their students an edge.
Analysts expect demand for healthcare-related VR training solutions to grow by nearly 37% by 2028  , as educators discover the vast potential they bring to medical education curriculums. Read on to discover how virtual reality makes hands-on education more accessible for students while improving accuracy in real-world scenarios.
The Benefits of VR Medical Simulation
There’s no better teacher than real, hands-on experience, but physical simulators are inflexible and costly. This is why more educators are turning to virtual medical simulations, which can provide a wider, more detailed suite of medical simulations in a much smaller footprint.
In a report by Jack Pottle, co-founder and chief medical officer of Oxford Medical Simulation, he cites the numerous impacts virtual reality in healthcare education makes on improving medical education standards. These include  :
- Increased accessibility: Physical medical simulations require facility renovations and the installation of training-specific equipment. These rooms likely cannot be used for any other purpose than the specific scenario for which they are equipped. Meanwhile, VR simulations only require a headset, small controllers and accessories, and a PC or laptop capable of processing the simulation. These solutions can be installed anywhere and allow for integration into student practice routines. Many VR simulations are essentially turnkey solutions, enabling students to set up and train without faculty supervision.
- Repeatable scenarios: Restarting physical simulations requires time to bring the simulation to its initial state, as well as the replenishment of disposable gear or other implements. Meanwhile, restarting VR simulations can be done with the push of a button. This not only reduces the downtime between sessions, but it also encourages students to make repeated attempts in a learning environment where they need not fear the consequences of failure.
- Reduced costs, space, and faculty time: The unique space, time, and material requirements of physical simulations are costly — according to Pottle’s report, costs can reach as high as $311 per course hour of training. VR hardware does have an inherent cost to acquire and maintain, but once the initial equipment and software are purchased, educators can expect “one-tenth of the cost of physical simulation independent of provider.”
Additionally, virtual reality simulations improve healthcare training outcomes. In an analysis of 21 studies conducted with VR learning, 74% of studies reported improved learning ability, and 87% of studies reported a greater accuracy in actual medical practice by VR trainees. 
For example, ORamaVR utilizes the power of virtual reality through HTC VIVE hardware to train students and has seen stellar results. In 2019, the company published a study showing an 8% increase in surgical proficiency over students who did not receive VR training  . Additionally, ORamaVR has reduced required training time by 29% while significantly decreasing operating room and cadaver station costs. To learn more about how ORamaVR and HTC VIVE have provided better, more cost-effective training outcomes for up-and-coming healthcare professionals, download our case study today .
Going Hands-On With Virtual Reality Simulations in Healthcare Education
VR simulations provide safe environments for doctors, nurses, and other professionals to get hands-on experience with the latest procedures. Here are just a few real-world examples of how VR simulators can improve medical training outcomes.
VR Surgery Simulators
Surgical procedures are highly technical and often require expensive equipment to perform. Expecting training surgeons to practice on real hardware, like the robotic-assisted da Vinci Surgical System  , is unrealistic. These machines need to be available for actual patients — setting aside time for students is cost-prohibitive, and those costs can balloon exponentially if this hardware is damaged during training.
Enter Surgical Science  : a leading supplier of virtual reality simulators built for surgical training. Surgical Science has built a number of VR simulations to train surgeons on procedures such as laparoscopy, endoscopy, minimally-invasive spine surgery, and more. These simulations feature state-of-the-art graphics and realistic user inputs modeled after real-world surgical equipment, complete with haptic feedback to simulate tension.
With Surgical Science’s simulators, students can master the basics of each procedure, as well as handle advanced training regimens to prepare for unexpected complications, all within a stress-free environment. Use of these and other VR simulators prepare surgeons for real-world OR experiences, leading to improved surgical outcomes.
VR Nursing Simulation
While surgical training may be the most obvious application of virtual reality medical simulation, nursing schools have implemented virtual training simulators as well.
SimX is one solution medical schools have turned to. Billed as the “most comprehensive VR healthcare curriculum in the world,”  SimX gives students nearly 600 virtual medical tools and props, as well as 100 simulations of real-world patient encounters to create highly configurable and repeatable training scenarios.
Students learn how to insert IVs and place catheters, take patient vitals, interact with patients through dialog choices, take X-rays, and practice emergency procedures, all in the safety of the virtual environment. And with VR control’s built-in motion and finger tracking, students can fully simulate the use of actual medical devices and tools — simply walk over to a virtual stethoscope, pick it up, and place it on a patient’s chest. Students can also work together to handle more intense training scenarios, which offer variable responses to user input to provide a more realistic simulation.
This immersive approach to nurse training grants the tactility students expect from training while producing immediate and responsive feedback that physical training can’t provide.
Explore New Training Possibilities With HTC VIVE
Whether you’re educating the next generation of surgeons on intricate techniques or want to give nurse practitioners hands-on blood testing training, HTC VIVE offers VR solutions that will help you improve your healthcare training outcomes. We provide best-in-class hardware that boasts detailed graphics, high-fidelity motion and eye-tracking capabilities, and all-in-one solutions for a wider range of mobility. Contact us today to learn more .
 Globe Newswire, https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/08/08/2494317/0/en/Global-Research-Study-on-Virtual-Reality-in-Healthcare-Market-Size-Will-Reach-2793-69-Million-at-36-50-CAGR-by-2028-Comprehensive-Research-Report-by-Facts-Factors.html
 National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6798020/
 National Library of Medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039818/