Virtual Reality for Medical Education: Overview
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development vendor with 31 years in IT and experience in healthcare, eLearning, and VR development.
Driven mostly by the Virtual Reality (VR) technology, the global market of gamified education is estimated to reach $1.8 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 32%. Healthcare is one of the key investors in VR-based learning since it enables effective and safe medical education.
Use cases of VR for medical education
Highly realistic 3D models of bones, organs, tissues, blood vessels and muscles. Allows closer virtual inspection at any angle and significantly improves anatomy understanding.
Medical social skills learning
AI-based communication learning for nurses and physicians. Helps students develop communication mechanisms with different patients prior to real medical practice, thus improving the healthcare results of recent graduates.
Simulation of a wide range of medical procedures for nurses, surgeons, ICU workers. Minimizes skill deficiency by enabling risk-free, hands-on practice.
Medical equipment use learning
Simulation of the process of medical equipment operation. Allows safe training and flattens the learning curve.
Architecture of VR medical education software
Virtual reality medical education software consists of the three key parts: a database web server, which stored 3D models and scenarios, a web administration panel, which enables database management and scenario editing, as well as a client VR application.
The most complex element of the architecture – the client VR application – includes the following modules:
- VR visualization module – builds the entire VR environment. Its physics simulator – realized via NVIDIA Flex – applies the law of physics to all 3D models used in the VR scene. The AI submodules control virtual autonomous characters, who play the roles of patients, assistants and tutors.
- Scenario editing module – enables editing of the sequences of the scenarios that are stored in the relevant database.
- Scenario simulation system – allows a user to interact with the scenario and its content.
- Built-in quiz and test data – optional load of tasks aimed at verifying a medical student’s knowledge. It can require verbal answers as well as practical steps.
- Learning analytics module – uses predefined criteria to assess a medical student’s performance. Can share data with the Learning Management System when integration is in place.
Advanced features of VR medical education software
Artificial Intelligence, trained specifically to create realistic virtual patients.
Possibility to have a learning session with multiple students simultaneously.
Learning session with a virtual instructor or a cooperative session, where a student and an instructor both use VR.
Possibility to create multiple new scenarios and 3D models and upload them to the database.
GENERAL TECHNOLOGY STACK
Client VR application
Success stories of VR for medical education
Taiwan’s top higher education institution – Taipei Medical University
in 2019 partnered with HTC to create VR software for anatomy learning. The final solution is now referred to as the "world's largest VR anatomy class", since it offers more than 4,000 highly detailed anatomical 3D models and supports up to 300 online students. The University's staff reports that the solution helps students gain a more in-depth understanding of anatomy, thus providing a solid knowledge basis for a specialist in any medical field.
Ohio State College of Medicine
developed a VR solution that draws on the potential of AI technology. VR software lets medical students hold realistic conversations with virtual patients, who have various backgrounds and even different levels of English language proficiency. The VR solution proved to be not only extremely helpful in the learning process but also very cost- and time-effective since it substitutes the need for real-life practice with multiple specifically trained community members.
The challenge of VR for medical education
is the main challenge of virtual reality software for medical education. To achieve meaningful and realistic interaction with virtual patients, it’s important to exploit high-quality AI technology, capable of both verbal and non-verbal communication.
Experience in healthcare IT and access to varied healthcare data (required for deep learning of AI algorithms) is key to effective training for AI to understand and participate in a natural doctor-patient conversation. At the same time, realistic human emotions and gestures for the non-verbal communication can be reproduced by AI with the help of motion-capture technology.
Implementation costs of a VR medical education solution
For each VR project, ScienceSoft calculates the cost of VR software development first.
General cost drivers
- Method of acquiring/creating key art assets (Photoshoot, 3D CAD rendering, Video shoot).
- Number of 3D models (in case of 3D CAD rendering).
- Number of AI-controlled virtual patients.
- Number of user roles.
- Number and complexity of education scenarios.
Additional solution costs
- VR equipment.
- Development of a learning analytics module.
- Possible integrations with:
- Learning Management System (LMS).
- Content Management System (CMS).
- Cloud services (costs depend on the volume of stored data, bandwidth, and a cloud services provider’s pricing policy).
VR for medical education: consulting and development by ScienceSoft
Your guarantee of a successful VR medical education project is in ScienceSoft’s 24 years in 3D modeling, 14 years in healthcare IT, and experience in developing LMS and VR training solutions.
Consulting on VR for medical education
- Concept productization.
- Long-term road-mapping.
- Scalable architecture design.
- Technology stack definition.
Development of VR for medical education
- UX and UI design.
- 3D modeling, VR development, and QA.
- Hardware and software integration.
- Continuous support and evolution.
Founded in 1989, ScienceSoft is a global software development and IT consulting company with over 700 employees on board. Our experience in healthcare and education industries helps us develop professional virtual reality software for medical education.