The Johnson & Johnson Institute recently announced the expansion of their virtual reality surgical training program. The initial VR training modules offered by the healthcare educators was a major hit with surgeons. In a survey conducted last year, 80 percent of orthopedic surgeons indicated they wanted to use VR training for ongoing training efforts, a telling indicator of how the technology has grown and improved in recently years.
Now, J&J Institute has launched a new global version of their virtual reality training in orthopedics. The hope is that the revolutionary technology will reach more surgeons, even in geographic areas that have had little previous opportunity to incorporate the latest digital advances into their learning.
To learn more, Surgical Products interviewed Sandra Humbles, vice president of global education solutions at Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies.
What are the key advantages the Johnson & Johnson Institute sees in VR training?
The J&J Institute VR training program is designed to help enhance surgical techniques and drive greater patient outcomes. VR enables surgeons and nurses to train in a safe environment, providing them with flexibility, repeatability, and direct feedback to enhance surgical techniques, reduce travel costs and save time.
With VR, surgeons, nurses and residents can practice at their own pace and as often as they want until they master a procedure. This is especially critical for residents, given the few training hours they typically have because of their heavy workloads and work hour restrictions.
What training modules are currently available through the Johnson & Johnson Institute program?
The program currently includes three unique VR training modules for orthopaedic surgery — Total Knee Replacement, Total Hip Replacement with Direct Anterior Approach, and Hip Fracture Treatment with a Proximal Femoral Nail. With a variety of modules that meet clear educational needs, the program allows surgeons and nurses to refine their techniques, which can help enhance patient outcomes.
Are there components in place to help ensure the simulation feels real to the surgeon and other staff?
All instruments and implants in the VR training modules are designed to simulate real-world experience in an operating room, while anatomy and biomechanics provide an accurate scenario for the user. Although the tactile feedback with the VR controllers is limited, surgeons often have the impression to “feel” what they’re doing due to the immersiveness of the OR simulation.
How does the VR training program help enhance standardization efforts at healthcare facilities?
Lack of standardization in procedures can lead to inconsistency in surgical outcomes. Our VR training program helps to drive greater standardization by making it possible to train surgeons and nurses in various locations throughout the world with the same system and modules, as many times as is necessary to master the technique.
How do you see VR training efforts growing at the Johnson & Johnson Institute in coming years?
We’re excited that this training program is now available at multiple Institute sites, including São Paulo, Brazil; Hamburg, Germany; Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan; and Raynham, Massachusetts in the U.S. We have already deployed 50 VR systems, with the goal of including these experiences in basic courses this summer and expanding to other Institutes around the world. Also, Virtual Reality allows highly sophisticated training in a very flexible way, as we can train surgeons and nurses directly in their hospitals.
Our aspiration is to deliver fresh modules on a frequent basis, to incorporate new cutting-edge hardware, and to bring this type of training to as many HCPs as possible. We believe that VR can deliver high training value to HCPs independent of their geographic location, following our mission to improve patient care even in countries where medical training is hardly available.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Education and innovation is built into the foundations of Johnson & Johnson’s 132-year heritage, one that has always embraced a people-focused approach that goes beyond our products. The introduction of this tech-forward training solution builds on our deep commitment to enhancing human health through professional education in innovative ways.
Our new VR training is part of our rapidly growing digital education ecosystem, and we believe it has the potential to transform the way professional education impacts patient care.