Get Ready to Binge on VR Medical Simulation


Posted by Nick Slamon, MD

So, I just returned from the 2020 IMSH conference in (cloudy?) San Diego.  I spent a lot of time speaking about, listening to presentations about and thinking about virtual reality in medical simulation.  The exhibition floor was a carnival of conventional manikin based products AND a definite increase in VR offerings. 

But what really drove my thoughts was if you can believe it, Netflix.  

You see I like to binge watch as much as anyone, Breaking Bad, Better call Saul, El Camino (which until recently could only be seen on Netflix) as well as all the Netflix original productions like the Irishman.  But, I also want to see the Mandalorian and all my favorite Marvel stuff too, so I guess Disney plus is needed as well.  And then there is Jack Ryan, that’s a great show, so Amazon Prime Movies it is, take my money.   

What does all this have to do with VR?  Well if you are a sim center and money is not easy to come by, but you think (and are correct) that VR is the future, what can you do?   There are so many software platforms that are great but none of them probably serve all your needs.   

Want an immersive platform that allows multiplayer and creation of your own content your own way and allows you to record it? Then Acadicus is probably for you. How about immersive, out of the box complete medical scenario that you can play your way through start to finish? Then SimX or Oxford Medical are great choices. How about surgery? I don’t want Orthopedic trainees to be left behind. In that case, Osso VR is a fantastic product.

The point is, there is NO perfect VR software solution that fits all the needs of a modern simulation center in 2020. What to do? Come back in 5 years? Ignore VR despite the possibility of getting in on the “ground floor”? Pick one and hope people use it?

I think several things will happen. Some companies will get bought out, or go out of business. Other companies may see opportunities to merge together and increase their collective appeal with multiple offerings. But in my opinion what will most likely occur is that companies and the simulation community will adopt a streaming mentality. They will have subscriptions to several software VR companies, each of whom cater to a different audience and skill set within the medical community. Offerings will span the range, surgical practice training, trauma resuscitation, medical scenarios from adults to pediatrics, education applications to modernize the chalk talk lecture into something more interactive.

It will be up to simulation centers to choose their subscriptions wisely based on the needs of their most active learners in VR. So, get ready to binge. It’s an exciting time in VR simulation.


Send Us a Note

3 + 9 =

Subscribe to our Newsletter

101 S. Main

Oregon, WI 53575