Today in Healthcare, simulation is playing an ever-increasing role.
Specifically, in Continuous Medical Education we see various forms of immersive VR applications as well as computer and hardware simulation becoming the norm.
In the past the counter argument for applying simulation in learning curricula was around why busy medical professionals need to spend their time playing video games?
Airplane pilots would beg to differ. Not only that skills such as dexterity, speed, decision making and a broader insight are imperative, but also the fact that you are not training with human lives at risk.
Clinical skills development does include patients who often are not available in the numbers required to accommodate the regular yearly cohort of trainees. Patient safely is a topic close at heart of most professionals. As such, virtual environments can be a great way of identifying where the skills are lacking and that includes non-medical skills such as teamwork, stress management and communications.
Surgery has specific requirements in terms of haptic feedback, quality 3D imaging of procedures as well as interacting with the OR environment. There are many creative ways where surgical faculty improvise simulated models at little cost to teach their learners creating models out of cheap and materials available in the local arts and haberdashery shops
Simulation in most cases, is now part of the learning pathways. However, there are still challenges ahead such as evening out the playing field. Theory helps to explain how a learner’s prior knowledge may affect the efficacy of simulation in medical students compared with higher-level learners. When a learning task is too complex, short-term memory can rapidly become overloaded, which has the effect of inhibiting learning.
A lot has been done in terms of development of suitable simulators and VR environments; however, cost of the simulators is still high and more needs to be done to come up with economical ways to grant more trainees access to simulators.
Optimization of all elements Continuous Medical Education is never ending. Thank god that there is the passion from those medical professionals to drive it!