Medical Training Goes Virtual

Imagine you’re a medical student learning how to treat a car-accident victim just rushed into the emergency room.

The simulated hospital scene is set. Your patient’s injuries are serious. The environment is chaotic.

Nurses, technicians and physician assistants are peppering you with questions. Time is critical.

Urgency is depicted in the overlapping voices and painful wails of the patient. Your training mission is to stay focused and synthesize the facts most pertinent to help prioritize your action steps.

You must collect patient data, assess the situation, decide a course of action and act.

But this chaotic scene isn’t taking place in some makeshift ER.

You’re in a virtual-reality environment.

The chaotic scene you’re immersed in is video simulated.

Critical errors will do no real harm. Your VR trainer will point out your mistakes and teach you the correct method as you navigate around the scene.

And it’s not some far off pipedream in medical training. It exists today.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are new, rapidly advancing teaching tools for medical and healthcare training institutions worldwide…and the range of usages across the globe is expanding at a fierce rate.

Today, the alchemy of Big Data, computer deep-learning and the advance of chip technology have set the stage for an explosion of VR learning at the highest levels of interactive, online learning — a trend I predicted almost 20 years ago in my book “Trends 2000”.

With Big Data’s boundless ability to find and deliver facts, charts, videos, infographics, statistics, official records and virtually anything else digitally stored, computer programs can leverage that information to learn from it and power VR programs for higher education.

These programs learn with the student. It enables a teaching environment that accelerates learning through trial and error across a spectrum of educational institutions, disciplines and levels of schooling.

This is what makes VR/AR learning so valuable in a wide spectrum of healthcare disciplines.

Virtual-reality models can simulate an endless range of cause-and-effect circumstances to test and shape the range of a student’s knowledge…

In complex surgeries, students can learn about medical conditions in a virtual-reality setting that brings them inside the human body. In counseling settings, the student can engage the personality peculiarities of VR psychotherapy patients.

Another aspect of VR/AR learning in healthcare that makes this powerful trend even more essential is its ability for distance learning.

Medical knowledge and skill vary widely across the globe, even within the United States. As such, VR/AR technology brings distant learning to an unparalleled level.

Before VR and related technology, the ability for training institutions to share medical breakthroughs and innovations was limited to journals, presentations at annual conferences or cumbersome curriculum changes in medical schools.

Today, and increasingly so in the years ahead, doctors with unique specialties, skills and experiences can share them across digital platforms with ease.

The health care industry is becoming one of the dominant, most versatile beneficiaries of VR/AR technologies. The technology is being used in medical procedures, training and patient relations all at once. There is virtually no aspect of health care that won’t benefit.

And because VR/AR tech is already practicing actual medicine, psychotherapy and other healthcare functions, the technology is inherently positioned to educate, too.

A single VR training module can include future doctors, nurses, social workers, lab technicians, administrators and more together in specific training scenarios to provide a full dimensional learning experience not possible before now.

The implications of how these types of VR/AR teaching models can apply to a vast array educational needs are staggering.

While the out-the-gate uses now are most prevalent in specific skills training and higher education areas, especially in medical arenas, the future of education on all levels, from kindergarten through doctoral studies, is virtual.

Within 10 years, AR/VR will be a multi-billion dollar industry. Recent estimates forecast 25% of that will be from VR in health care.

While this trend continues to grow, it’s still considered in its infancy. And as new applications emerge for VR tech, investors will continue to profit.


Gerald Celente
for The Daily Reckoning

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