Integrating Simulations into Medical Education

One of the first life-sized medical training simulators was made out of linen, leather, and cotton; it included a life sized stuffed baby doll. Created in 1758, it was simply called ‘The Machine’ and it represented the first obstetrics mannequin used to train midwives in the 18th Century. Today, simulation has become much more advanced, but the medical profession has lagged far behind other professions in its adoption and implementation. Consequently, the field of medicine is missing out on opportunities to train future physicians better, faster, and more affordably.

Contemporary medical simulators, particularly virtual reality-based ones, can offer on-demand and life-like experiences with no risk to patients. When successfully integrated a medical training curriculum, a simulator can be a valuable tool used throughout the training journey to accelerate training, save time and money, and improve patient outcomes.

How does virtual reality simulation speed up learning?

  • Simulators support learning; they provide a risk-free experience where trainees can test boundaries and learn from mistakes.
  • Step-by-step instructions guide trainees through developing basic skills before having them progress onto increasingly complex tasks.
  • Trainees learn in life-like environments and using original surgical instruments. This means the skills they learn transfer seamlessly to the operating room.1

Learning Curve with Simulation Training2

Learning Curve with Simulation Training

Image credit: VirtaMed

Simulators support better trainee performance

  • Simulators provide impartial feedback after each procedure. These feedback reports help educators and trainees track progress and identify areas for improvement.
  • Simulators can guide students through society-endorsed or specialized course, empowering trainees to take control of their own education.
  • Studies have shown that peer-derived-group benchmarks benefit trainees in terms of motivation and performance.3
  • Simulation can be used to set predetermined levels of proficiency, ensuring that trainees attain a specified skill level before entering the operating room.

Simulation-inclusive education saves everyone time

  • Trainees with frequent access to a simulator reach defined proficiency levels faster, meaning that they get into the OR more quickly.4
  • Residents who trained on a simulator first take less time to complete procedures once they are in the OR - and make fewer errors.5

Simulation-inclusive education saves everyone time

Image credit: VirtaMed

Simulation shortened the learning curve because they could learn all the basic skills here in the lab. I didn’t have to teach them in the theater, and it’s also safer for patients to be able to come and practice on the simulator before trying a new technique.”

Professor Rob Middleton, Head of the Orthopaedic Research Institute, Bournemouth University


  1. Lateef, F. “Simulation-based Learning: Just Like the Real Thing.” Journal of Emergencies, Trauma and Shock. 3.4 (2010): 348; Sturm, L. P., J. A. Windsor, P. H. Cosman, P. Cregan, P. J. Hewett, and G. J. Maddern. “A Systematic Review of Skills Transfer After Surgical Simulation Training.” Annals of Surgery. 248, no. 2 (2008): 166-179.
  2. Yari, S., et al. “Efficacy of an Arthroscopic Virtual Based Simulator for Orthopedic Surgery Residents by Year in Training.” Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine (2018).
  3. von Websky, M. W., et al. “Access to a Simulator is Not Enough: the Benefits of Virtual Reality Training Based on Peer-Group-Derived Benchmarks—a Randomized Controlled Trial.” World Journal of Surgery. 37, no. 11 (2013): 2534-2541.
  4. Rahm, S., et al. “Efficacy of Standardized Training on a Virtual Reality Simulator to Advance Knee and Shoulder Arthroscopic Motor Skills.” BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 19, no. 1 (2018): 150.
  5. Ahlberg, G., et al. “Proficiency-based Virtual Reality Training Significantly Reduces the Error Rate for Residents During Their First 10 Laparoscopic Cholecystectomies.” The American Journal of Surgery. 193, no. 6 (2007): 797-804.

About VirtaMed

VirtaMed is a Swiss company that develops & produces highly realistic surgical simulators for medical training. Surgeons use original instruments to train in a safe environment before performing surgeries on patients.


VirtaMed's vision is to improve the quality of medical care with state-of-the-art, virtual reality based medical training and education.


Our mission is to alter the way medical skills are taught.


As a company, we live innovation in a customer-oriented, agile, diverse and passionate work environment.

Sponsored Content Policy: publishes articles and related content that may be derived from sources where we have existing commercial relationships, provided such content adds value to the core editorial ethos of News-Medical.Net which is to educate and inform site visitors interested in medical research, science, medical devices and treatments.

Last updated: Feb 22, 2021 at 11:43 AM


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