Keeping Up Medical Training in Times of COVID-19

Dear Customers,

Currently, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is spreading rapidly across the globe. As the situation unfolds, almost every aspect of life is changing in unprecedented ways. People are doing their best to protect and support their families, staff, customers, and communities while inventing creative new ways to keep things running.

We know that you are dedicated to providing the best possible medical education to your students and residents in ophthalmology, optometry, and medical schools. This is a challenging task as social distancing measures become effective to slow down the spread of the pandemic. Direct mentorship and contact to patients and students for training purposes have become more complicated or even impossible, and surgical interventions have been reduced to urgent and emergency cases in many countries.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, digital technologies such as online video conferences and social media have become more important than ever to compensate for the effects of social distancing. We at VRmagic think that virtual reality simulation technology can also make a small contribution in this crisis to keep up medical training and provide hands-on practice while ensuring trainees and patients remain safe and healthy. We have compiled tips on this page to support you in providing safe medical training in these difficult times.

Dr. Markus Schill, CEO of VRmagic
Dr. Markus Schill, CEO of VRmagic

Although many people at VRmagic work from home currently, we are there for our customers as usual and glad to help if you should have any questions!

Keep safe and stay healthy,
Markus Schill and the whole VRmagic team

Social Distancing through Independent Learning

Independent learning is a great tool to maintain training while keeping educators and trainees safe. VRmagic virtual reality training simulators are designed to enable learning without the immediate need for personal mentorship. Students and residents can examine virtual patients or perform hands-on virtual surgery completely on their own while the simulator guides them through their training and provides detailed performance feedback. To make sure only one person uses the simulator at a time, we recommend using an online calendar or booking system to reserve simulator time slots.

Student practicing indirect ophthalmoscopy on the training simulator (© VRmagic/Lachnith)
Student practicing indirect ophthalmoscopy on Eyesi Indirect

Online Learning Content and Training Reports

VRmNet is a web-based training platform for all VRmagic simulators. If the simulator has Internet access and is connected to VRmNet, trainees have access to online courses and can recapitulate the cases they performed on the simulator. Instead of explaining the usage of a simulator to new users in person, educators can set a mandatory online orientation course which explains the simulator step-by-step with videos and images. Residents practicing on the Eyesi Surgical simulator have access to further online medical courses on cataract surgery which accompany and extend the practical surgery tasks on the simulator.

Description of the phaco handpiece in Eyesi Surgical online course
Description of the phaco handpiece in Eyesi Surgical online course

Remote Administration and Monitoring

With simulators connected to VRmNet, educators can overlook all training activities and manage user accounts for simulator training online. VRmNet makes it possible to view training statistics and performance overviews remotely to gain deep insights into the trainees’ skill development. VRmNet also makes it easy to allocate simulator time slots, because through data synchronization, trainees can practice on any connected simulator in the institution.

Courseware progress overview in VRmNet
Courseware progress overview in VRmNet

Keeping Simulators Clean

Maintaining a clean working environment is essential for safe simulator practice. In times of COVID-19 we recommend cleaning all simulator surfaces that are in direct contact with hands and face after each training session.

  • All people who use the simulator should wash their hands before and after simulator usage and should not touch their face during simulator usage.
  • Make sure all trainees clean and disinfect the simulator surfaces according to the cleaning instructions (see links below) when concluding their training session. To make it easier for your trainees, you may print out the cleaning instructions and position them near the simulator.
  • Create a laminated card or a cleaning list. After completing cleaning of the simulator, the trainee can leave the card or the signed list on the simulator table to show the simulator was cleaned.
  • For additional safety, it may be an option to wear disposable gloves during simulator usage (if available in sufficient quantities). The touch screen may also be operated with a disinfected touch pen to avoid direct contact.
Cleaning the Eyesi Surgical patient head
Cleaning and disinfecting the training simulators