Is your company ready to add a VR surgery simulator to your arsenal of sales tools? Everything you need to know to make a successful medical VR training program.
So… This medical VR training thing is starting to really take off. Medical sales reps and trainers are able to carry an entire operating room in a briefcase. Physicians have access to an unlimited supply of virtual patients, each exhibiting the ideal pathology for the desired training. Sales reps can meet with four times as many surgeons in half the time regardless of location using remote live training technology. The benefits of VR have become obvious but getting the VR program you need requires a bit of research.
Everything you need to know about planning and budgeting for your first medical VR simulation is about to become clear. Read on and ready yourself for the future.
Step 1: Get a VR headset and play a whole bunch of different games and experiences to get an idea of what’s possible when it comes to user interface and interactive content. We suggest an Meta (previously Oculus) Quest 2 headset because they are cheap, available, and provide a portable, easy to use experience. If you need some suggestions for VR apps to try, please check out the list below.
We get together at least once a week with our VR development team to putt the balls around a whole bunch of well designed courses. We suggest you give this title a whirl because it is good example of how a group can easily communicate using the headset’s built-in microphone and interact with each other regardless of geographical distance.
This application is no toy. ShapesXR is a 3D design tool that allows you to create interactive prototypes and share them with them with other users. Though it won’t easily make a surgical application, it does showcase a powerful immersive multi-user environment for collaboration over any distance.
If you want to try out an actual surgical VR simulation program, we suggest you try our own surgical simulator. This Quest 2 application utilizes our own Wraithmatrix peer-to-peer network that allows you to pass a scalpel to someone across an ocean as easily as if they were across the surgical table.
Step 2: Define your goals and be specific. Do you want to convert 30% more surgeons to use your implant without increasing the size of your sales force? Do you need to train 400 nurses across the U.S. while minimizing travel expenses? Perhaps the goal is to evaluate performance and ensure that 100% of the people getting their hands on your instrumentation are qualified to use it safely. Simulation-based training in VR, can, when designed correctly, give your sales and training staff the ability to be everywhere with everything they need to conduct business at a moment’s notice. Be able to explain to your developer what you need to do, if they are worth their price, they’ll know what they need to do to help you achieve it.
Step 3: Pick a developer that can show you examples of their work that closely matches your needs. Your developer should be able to show you they’ve already built the core technologies for instrument handling and anatomy modification that fit your application. Look for developers that can provide an intuitive interface. Poorly designed VR/XR can destroy the whole project for everyone who tries to use it. A good developer knows how to make VR feel like a natural experience closely resembling a real world approximation. Don’t settle for less. If live remote multiuser collaboration is needed, they should be able to show you that without much stalling. Networked multiplayer app development is no cake walk! Unless you see an example closely matching what you need functioning well from great distances with your own eyes, ears, and virtual hands, don’t count on them being able to deliver it for your application.
Step 4: Pick a developer that specializes in medicine: Just because it is on the menu, doesn’t mean it is a good idea to order lasagna at a sushi bar. We’ve been hired to fix more than a handful of other developer’s best efforts and epic fails. Developing new software is challenging enough without also needing to turn laypeople into medical experts along the way. Choosing a dev company that knows their way around a pedicle screw and a mayo stand will save you a lot of time and revisions down the line and you have a lot of decent companies to pick from. Ghost Medical, PrecisionOS, OssoVR, and Fundamental Surgery all specialize in making highly functional medical simulations. If your application needs to be medically accurate, pick one of us from the get-go or face the consequences of an app that is failed, flawed, or forever in revision.
Step 5: Prepare to budget for the cost of development, licensing, support, hardware costs, device management, and customer success.
Step 6. Schedule for Development: Depending on the scope of your project, development can take as little as a few months, or longer than a year, before they deliver a minimum viable product that you can use for its intended purpose. Your developer will likely utilize one of many different AGILE project management styles and development cycles known as Sprints. Sprints usually run 2-4 weeks long and at the end of each sprint, the developer should release a new version of the software for review and testing. Our goal is to release a prototype test build as quickly as we can, by the end of the first sprint if possible. We’ve found that this helps our clients get a sense of the overall project flow right out of the gate and helps steer the rest of the project moving forward.
Using this guide to help you plan, budget, and pick the right developer, you are ready for the future. Before you know it, you will have a highly functional, fully immersive VR simulation that allows you to put your products right in the hands of your customers no matter how far away. A medical VR training program or sales app is more powerful than any media we’ve ever made and they are well worth the effort. Just remember to establish your goals before you begin and make sure that every test build gets you closer to achieving them.
Ghost Productions is an award-winning medical media production company that can help you with custom medical animation and marketing services. We offer a wide array of digital representation services that can help anyone in the medical field improve their marketing, support patient communication efforts, or even streamline staff training. Our team is highly trained and has a great understanding of biomedical processes, so they can accurately represent your device or product in a 3D medical animation, or other types of illustrations you may be interested in. Contact Ghost Productions now and tell us more about how we can help you train your surgeons, sell more medical devices, or explain your pharmaceutical product.