Could Virtual Training Reduce Use Errors and Improve Patient Outcomes?

Aiming to fill a skills gap, an orthopedic surgeon has developed a virtual training platform for surgeons and their teams.

Dr. Justin Barad, Founder and CEO of Osso VR

Dr. Justin Barad, Founder and CEO of Osso VR

Medical device companies “have had enough of people using their devices improperly—it leaves them open to lawsuits and recalls,” Dr. Justin Barad told BIOMEDevice Boston attendees during an April 18 Center Stage presentation.

Founder and CEO of Osso VR, Barad believes the solution lies in virtual training and education. “You can make a major impact in patient outcomes in how surgeons are trained,” he said.

A pediatric orthopaedic surgeon himself, Barad developed Osso VR, a virtual reality system for training surgeons. Osso VR is a “hands-on, reliable, interactive” system that allows “you to see at a granular level the technical ability of product users,” he told the audience. He will also be demonstrating the system at the upcoming Medtech Education Hub at MD&M East on June 14 at 2:00 pm in "OSSO VR Revolutionizes Surgical Training with Virtual Reality."

Today, what is lacking “is insight into the technical ability of our providers,” continued Barad. “Medical device companies have no idea whether their products are being used properly.” Consequently, companies could be liable, he said.

Improving patient outcomes is central to Osso’s mission, as are increasing adoption of higher-value medical technologies and democratizing access to education. Barad explained that hospitals and surgeons may continue to use existing technologies because surgeons don’t have the time and opportunity to train on the newer products.

There’s also a skills gap, “as residency programs are aware that residents go out into the world not ready,” Barad said. And there’s a fixed number of surgeons to serve an aging population. “It’s projected to be short by 50,000 surgeons by 2050,” he reported.

The company creates virtual training scenarios utilizing CAD files from medical device customers. “We create virtual ecosystems using their content,” he explains. “It's more efficient for surgeons to be able to practice on the actual device they’ll be using.” The system utilizes the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch handheld device.

The platform creates a virtual operating room that allows for collaborative training for the whole team, including surgical techs and nurses. Up to 10 staff can train in one module, regardless of where they are in the world. “A lot of people are involved for a successful surgical outcome,” he said, later telling MD+DI that “when your team doesn’t know how to use equipment, you’re not focused on the patient.” The system also allows for remote mentoring and coaching.

Staff can even train before procedures, he said, pointing to a pilot study of just-in-time training that showed a trend toward double the performance.

Currently focused on the orthopedic space, Osso offers 5 virtual procedures and is expected to be up to 8 to 10 by the end of the year. Barad also plans to expand into robotics and cardiology, particularly procedures involving the structural heart.

Barad also sees utility outside of the surgical arena, such as in the warehouses that stock surgical trays. “Rapidly filling trays is a critical issue, and we do see in the OR that trays are not maintained properly,” he said. Educating tray assembly staff could help them understand how to put instruments in trays as well as what the instruments do for a deeper appreciation of such work.

Barad said there’s been some debate over whether to use haptics in VR training systems. “It’s a hot area right now.” However, “research has shown that kinesthetic force feedback hasn’t improved skills transfer. Cutaneous haptics seem to be more effective in achieving the desired outcome.” He added that “the brain has a tremendous ability to fill in gaps.”

Barad expects that one day medical device companies will be able to create their own content for use with Osso VR, but the platform won’t be an open one in order to maintain “accurate, clinically effective content.” The company also ensures that good design practices are followed when building the virtual environments. For instance, “to eliminate nausea, you can’t dip below 90 frames per second,” he said.

Osso VR has been recognized as an EdSimChallenge Winner 2017, a Zimmer Biomet Innovation Award Winner 2018, IMSH 2018 Best-In-Show Runner Up, and GPU Tech Conference 2016 Innovation Award.

Barad spoke during the April 18 BIOMEDevice Boston Center Stage presentation and demo, “OSSO VR Revolutionizes Surgical Training with Virtual Reality.”

And don't miss the upcoming demo at the Medtech Education Hub at MD&M East on June 14 at 2:00 pm in "OSSO VR Revolutionizes Surgical Training with Virtual Reality."

To learn more, visit the Osso VR YouTube channel.

[Image courtesy of OSSO VR]

Daphne Allen

Daphne Allen is editor-in-chief of MD+DI. She previously served as executive editor of Pharmaceutical & Medical Packaging News, which serves as the pharmaceutical and medical device channel of Packaging Digest. Daphne has covered medical device packaging, labeling, manufacturing, and regulatory issues as well as pharmaceutical packaging for more than 20 years. She is also a member of the Institute of Packaging Professionals's Medical Device Packaging Technical Committee. Follow her on Twitter at @daphneallen.

 

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