Virtual reality and other tech-enabled digital tools are entering the healthcare education arena with a promise to make clinician training and assessment more flexible, efficient, and user-friendly. One of the most active pioneers in this space is medtech giant Johnson & Johnson. J&J’s professional education unit, the Johnson & Johnson Institute, is embracing a variety of digital learning tools, ranging from virtual and augmented reality to AI-driven online learning tools. And its efforts could have far-reaching implications for both J&J and the clinicians it serves.

The video gaming industry may have brought virtual reality (VR) and its close cousin augmented reality (AR) into the mainstream, but others are taking this technology well beyond gaming and into new domains, one of which is healthcare (see Figure 1). Although more time and study are needed before VR/AR become commonplace in patient care, physicians could reap VR’s benefits as a training and planning tool much sooner.

In fact, some believe that VR, AR, and other high-tech tools could be game-changers when it comes to training and evaluating surgical staff in the hospital. As such, a digital learning environment that employs these types of tools in the clinical setting could have a wide-reaching impact on patient outcomes down the road, helping to level the surgical playing field on a global basis.

At least that’s the opinion of the folks at the Johnson & Johnson Institute, which was established last fall to bring together J&J’s diverse network of bricks-and-mortar and online professional education offerings. According to Sandra Humbles, VP of Global Education Solutions, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies(which consists of J&J’s surgery, orthopedics, and cardiovascular device businesses), the Johnson & Johnson Institute is leading the way in this effort, investing heavily in VR and other high-tech training solutions as part of its new “digital ecosystem.” The company’s aims, says Humbles, are to add more flexibility and efficiency to the clinician learning environment and expand access to high-level training in underserved areas worldwide.

To learn more about J&J’s plans for its digital learning environment and the potential impact VR and AR could have on physician training in the future, MedTech Strategist spoke recently with Humbles, who heads-up the Institute’s global education team, and her colleague David Badri, Virtual Reality Lead, WW Professional Education at Johnson & Johnson, who was instrumental in getting the VR training program up and running.

By Mary Thompson | MedTech Strategist

Image Credit: MedCity News

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