This virtual reality app brings medical expertise to remote locations

A new medical virtual reality platform trains surgeons around the world, as if they are in the same room.

Shortage of surgeons is a serious problem for the global health industry. According to a recent survey by American Association for Thoracic Surgery, a growing disparity is projected between the number of surgeons needed and the number available by 2035.

In order to help meet burgeoning future needs, Dr. Shafi Ahmed, a famous surgeon from UK’s Royal London Hospital has launched a new education platform to train surgeons remotely by using virtual reality and 360-degree video technologies.

The platform is a result of a 9-month work at Medical Realities, a VR training company which Dr. Shafi Ahmed has co-founded in 2015.

“There is a global shortage of surgeons. We need to train 2.2 million extra surgeons and shorten their training to provide equitable healthcare. Learning in the Operation Room (OR) for most students and trainees routinely takes place in a crowded environment which has poor educational value and which hasn’t changed for over 100 years,” told Dr. Shafi Ahmed to Haptical.

Medical Realities’ innovative training platform offers a comprehensive collection of modules covering key syllabus material in a safe environment.

The high-quality 360-degree videos presented in the application helps medical students and health professionals to immerse themselves in different operation scenarios as if they are actually in the operation room.

Dr. Shafi Ahmed says Medical Realities team had 20 people working on the platform, including surgeons, graphic designers, coders, CGI animators and film producers. The whole production took 9 months to complete.

“VR allows a unique immersive learning experience that puts the student directly in the OR watching and being taught by world class surgeons. The team have been working on recording and editing a large library of live operations, developing CGI models, creating a exciting learning environment and content which is being validated by our research team. They are also working on R&D for future products. Its taken a unique and creative team to use virtual reality in this way that will radically change the way we teach surgery.”

“We felt that traditional methods of teaching needed disrupting and the rapid advances in augmented and virtual reality allowed a different way of transferring knowledge and skills. Our students want to use the latest technology to learn.”

The platform is now available to try as mobile app on Android for the cardboard. Shafi Ahmed says, it will also roll out for iOS, Gear VR and Google Daydream headsets over the coming weeks. The company is also planning a high end version for devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.


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