Neurosurgeon Dr. David Clarke estimates half of all surgical training could be done in the virtual world

A crossover between the worlds of gaming and medicine has the potential to cut training time in operating rooms by half and dramatically change the way surgical teams operate in the future, according to the head of neurosurgery in Nova Scotia.

Dr. David Clarke, who works with Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Health Authority, is leading the charge to make virtual reality a regular aspect of the job for hospital staff.

“At some point in the not-too-distant future, a patient will legitimately ask, ‘Why are you teaching that in the operating room on me as a patient? You should be teaching that in a simulated environment.’”

Clarke has a virtual reality program set up in his office that allows doctors and nurses to practise the motions of a surgery before they walk into the operation room.

The program, made by Surrey, B.C., developer Conquer Experience, is called PeriopSim. It uses videos of real brain surgeries that have been recorded in Halifax and tests the employees as they choose the right equipment for each step of the complicated procedures.

“I think this is tremendously exciting,” said Clarke. “It really is a major shift in terms of how we fundamentally train people.”

By Carolyn Ray | CBC News

Image Credit: Craig Paisley/CBC

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