When releasing novel medical devices, companies often face challenges in how to ensure both their commercial team and healthcare practitioners have a clear understanding of the unique capabilities of the device. With a diversity of tools available, the question is: where should companies employ high-fidelity virtual-reality simulation?
The simple answer is that high-fidelity VR simulation can be used everywhere, from demonstrations at conferences to training for sales partners and healthcare professionals. It is a quick and economical method to prepare your product for success and to start your sales.
High-fidelity virtual-reality simulation is not merely a like-for-like alternative to traditional simulation, but is, in fact, a superior option.
Seeing is Believing
As medical device companies are innovating beyond the boundaries of known technological developments and medical science, manufacturers, and particularly salespeople, must be able to explain succinctly how and why a newly launched device is superior to existing alternatives.
An efficient and engaging explanation is best achieved with a ‘live’ demonstration, and a high-fidelity VR simulator allows for the closest replication of a clinical environment.
The eye-catching qualities of customized high-fidelity VR simulators not only bring health care practitioners to your booth, but encourages them to stay longer to get hands-on with the new device. This gives you a chance to gain extended and more productive engagement, as health care practitioners can build up an accurate understanding of the procedure and grow more likely to be open to trying the first case.
Rapid, simple, and clean set-up is also a valuable characteristic for simulators in high demand.
For two years now, we have been using VirtaMed systems in urology but also in gynecology, especially for congresses, workshops, courses, in Germany and internationally. All participants and our own team show growing enthusiasm because of the very easy and fast set-up and because of the clean working space.
Stefan Gille, Head of Product Marketing for Urology, Richard Wolf GmbH
Improved Training Results In Higher Adoption of Devices and Superior Clinical Results
In order to impart confidence with new devices, and to ensure that they are being employed to their full potential, comprehensive physician training is necessary. When opting to implement a new procedure, one of the key factors for healthcare practitioners is the availability of manual-skills training, and training to increase understanding of the method and to develop the ability to overcome obstacles.
With high-fidelity VR simulation, healthcare practitioners can practice until both you and they are confident that their skills are ready to be transitioned to a clinical environment. Some companies with this technology now employ VR simulation to carry out objective tests on physicians to determine their ability to utilize new instruments and successfully carry out new procedures.
One example of this is the high-fidelity VR simulator developed by VirtaMed in 2015 to support the introduction of the Rezūm™ Water Vapor Therapy device. The Rezūm II pivotal study enabled the development of five highly representative procedures based on procedure videos from 197 different patients.
The simulator gave scores based on how successfully the physicians carried out the procedure, and in training, physicians were required to score 85 percent or more on each of these five cases prior to performing their initial patient case(s).
In both the medical technology field and general physician training, there has been an increased uptake of this type of proficiency-based training.
A study carried out by the Arthroscopy Association of North America found that employing simulation in combination with step-by-step learning goals offers significantly improved results in comparison to either traditional education or simulator training without objectively set, quantitative targets.
High-fidelity VR simulations can be developed for your unique device and to follow your suggested process stages, as per the Instructions For Use (IFU). The ability to develop training for specified pathologies and complications allows physicians to select your device for even the most challenging patient cases.
Some medical device companies have found that when presenting innovative devices and procedures, it is beneficial to offer simulation training to a wider range of relevant healthcare professionals, from the entire OR team to those working in recovery and rehabilitation. This method is employed to offer a greater overall understanding of the advantages and risks involved.
Lowered Training Costs
The use of a high-fidelity VR simulator lowers expenditure both for the delivery of training programs and for marketing and sales. Some of these costs, such as running cadaver labs, are seen as ongoing, while others, including the time spent waiting for an appropriate patient to be scheduled in the OR for your procedure, are more implicit.
With high-fidelity virtual-reality simulators available on-demand, users can experience the use of your device from a classroom or office environment. As the simulator is always ready for use, training can be completed more rapidly, and with reduced reliance on a proctor for one-on-one feedback.
Simulation training also offers unlimited repeatability. There are no added costs, whether a physician requires two or 200 procedures to reach proficiency.
Virtual reality simulators are definitely the future of medical education. Surgeons can repeat the procedure to infinity. So far, the problem was to reproduce a simulation close to reality: The VirtaMed solution has closed this gap.
Professor Luca Carmignani, Head of Urology IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Milan
While the development of simulators does necessitate an initial financial outlay, this is significantly lower than the costs of developing the new device itself. Work on the simulator can begin before the device is approved, and it can even be employed to train the physicians that will carry out pre-market clinical trials with your new device.
High-fidelity VR simulators are mobile and can be used at conferences, seminars, workshops, and for 1-1 training sessions, making them an efficient training method for your field staff and distributors.
Sales associates, like physicians, can engage with the simulator as frequently as needed until they gain a firm understanding of the device. Potential customers have far more confidence in salespeople who are comfortable with a novel device or procedure and familiar with its training, as opposed to staff speaking only from hand-outs or other types of simulation.
During the lifespan of a medical device, it is likely that personnel changes will take place within both your field sales and clinical specialist teams. The use of a high-fidelity VR simulator makes it simple to ensure that all new team members receive the same training content, delivered to the same standards.
The ability to provide this training on-demand reduces the time needed to integrate new team members fully.
VirtaMed has extensive experience in developing custom high-fidelity virtual-reality simulators and has collaborated with some of the world’s largest medical technology companies, including a recent project with Smith + Nephew to develop a custom simulator. Each company receives the individual support they deserve, irrespective of size.
We loved working with VirtaMed! They are obviously a very competent and highly skilled team, and they were very responsive when we made suggestions or asked for certain functions and features. There were times when we asked for things that were a little outside of what they had done, and, kudos to the team, they would go away, think about it, and within a couple of days to a week come back to us with a solution.
Amanda Heys, Senior Manager Professional Education &Training, NxThera
With the combination of years of experience and the option of engaging an established technology and software platform, VirtaMed can decrease development time and reduce the resources required to translate new procedures into high-fidelity virtual reality.
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.
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