A new report that could help improve how immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are used in healthcare education and training has been published.
Prof. David Peebles, Director of the University of Huddersfield’s Centre for Cognition and Neuroscience, and Huddersfield PhD graduate Matthew Pears contributed to the report. The work also involved another PhD researcher, Yeshwanth Pulijala, and Prof. Eunice Ma.
With only a relatively small number of dental schools in the UK, the quartet visited seven dental schools in India in early 2017 to test their VR-based training materials on students.
The report argues for greater standardisation of how to use immersive technologies in healthcare training and education. As Prof. Peebles explained: “Immersive technology is becoming increasingly popular and, as the technology is advancing, it’s becoming clear that there is great potential to make training more accessible and effective”.
He continued: “Developing immersive training materials can be very time-consuming and difficult to evaluate properly. Getting surgeons and medical students to take time out to test your VR training is challenging. In our case we were lucky to have a surgeon, Prof. Ashraf Ayoub, a Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Glasgow, who granted us permission to film a surgical procedure that was then transformed into a 3D environment to train students about situation awareness while in the operating theatre”.
Prof. Peebles hopes the work so far will provide a basis for more investigations that could help get the most from the potential that VR and immersive technology have to offer.