Thursday, 31 August 2017

#VR #AR can increase efficiency and reduce cost in medical education #meded by Dr. Vikram @drvikram


Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has the potential to transform key areas in healthcare. Medical Education, Rehabilitation, supply chain the list is endless and what is limiting us is our own imagination.

Last week I was speaking at the IT Healthcare Summit on the potential for VR/AR to transform healthcare. I also shared my views on this post before the conference. In my discussions with the delegates, I realized that the foundation of medical education in India can be improved drastically. One just needs to look around medical colleges in India to understand the state of the dissection halls there. 

Often, they suffer from the lack of cadavers so essential for understanding key aspects of human anatomy. This leads to a weakness in fully grasping aspects of human anatomy that would help them become better doctors and improve care outcomes. A light-hearted representation of this was seen in the movie “Munna Bhai MBBS”. Often the students must share a single cadaver and this does not help the students at all. But VR/AR can change that.

A pilot at Miami Children’s Hospital saw that the retention in students who were taught through AR/VR was 80% as compared to 20% for those who were taught through traditional methods. In India SRM University in Chennai and Global Hospitals in Hyderabad have been piloting AR/VR 

Another area where AR/VR played a critical role was in training surgeons and physicians on complex procedures like “Tracheal Intubation”. Tracheal intubation, usually simply referred to as intubation, is the placement of a flexible plastic tube into the trachea (windpipe) to maintain an open airway or to serve as a conduit through which to administer certain drugs. It is frequently performed in critically injured, ill, or anesthetized patients to facilitate ventilation of the lungs, including mechanical ventilation, and to prevent the possibility of asphyxiation or airway obstruction. (Source: Wikipedia)

A major hospital chain increased the efficiency of their surgeons by 35% by using simulation of tracheal Intubation using VR/AR vs a specialized training that would have required them to travel to a special center. The cost savings were more to the tune of 500% using this method.

But the major effect of AR/VR would be in rehabilitation. Already pilots have been conducted in areas like PTSD by the US Army. The Indian Spinal Research Institute is already using VR/AR technology to use it in the physio therapy process for rehabilitation post-surgery.

The potential is immense and the use cases are still building up. But what’s stopping us ? Well I look forward to your comments and suggestions to get us moving in this direction. Looking forward to your views and suggestions on the same. 


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Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran
Dr Vikram Venkateswaran is a healthcare thought leader who writes and speaks about the emerging healthcare models in India and the role technology plays in them.
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