By Jarek Stelmark, Assistant Professor, Allied Health Sciences, Hostos CC
The reality simulation is not new. The stereoscoping imaging at the end of the 19th century gave the idea of depth and three-dimensionality by combining two radiographic images of the same object taken at slightly different angles (Barnes, 2015). The term “virtual reality” was originated in 1987 by Jaron Lanier, whose research and engineering resulted in a variety of products for the quickly expanding VR sector. Because of its applications in video games, virtual reality (VR) technology has been present since the 1970s, but recent technological breakthroughs have dramatically increased its usefulness and range of uses. Virtual reality is a technique that allows immersion in a world that faithfully and interactively reproduces many essential aspects of the real world, enhancing or replacing actual physical experiences. In medical education, there should be exposure to live patients so that medical students and doctors can acquire the necessary skills. There is also, on the other hand, an obligation to provide optimal treatment and to ensure patient’s safety and well-being. These two competing needs can sometimes pose a dilemma in medical education (Lateef, 2010).
VR is proven to be a fantastic tool for training medical practitioners. Making sure that all medical professionals receive the same level of training can be difficult, especially given how difficult it is to get access to the most up-to-date equipment and protocols (Philipson, 2022).
During the spring semester, I collaborated with Medspace to integrate their computed tomography (CT) VR training tool into my Advanced Procedures II lecture. The modern radiologic technique known as CT uses a significant amount of dangerous ionizing radiation to perform the scan. However, Medspace’s VR training tool offered complete accessibility without the need for sophisticated equipment, was available on screen so that everyone could use it, students could choose different patient types and scanning protocols, and there was also no requirement for harmful ionizing radiation. In post lectures discussions all students reported a high level of satisfaction with the VR training tool.