healthcaretechoutlook

OSSimTech: VR open surgery training simulator designed to boost surgeon's skills

 André Blain, Founder & President
One of the major causes of death across the U.S is surgical errors, according to a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety. The field of surgical education has many pressing concerns, including lack of hands-on surgical training solutions that can track surgeons’ progress. Coupled with the decreasing hours of training and high costs of cadavers, residents lack the experience to perform complex surgical procedures, leading to medical errors. As innovators in open surgery training simulators, OSSimTech provides residents, educators, and institutions in healthcare, innovative tools and technology to increase patient safety through an accelerated program that tracks learning process through a number of surgical procedures on a virtual reality (VR) platform. “Our team is working diligently, using real-life haptic feedback and VR to create profound and lasting immersive environments for surgical training,” states André Blain, founder and president of OSSimTech.

OSSimTech proposes the practical use of simulation to sensitize, prepare, and train residents for real-world surgeries, using unique, tactile and VR-based training platforms. The company offers the Sim-OrthoTM, a simulator that can simulate an array of spine, trauma and knee procedures in addition to tool-handling exercises, and replicates rare clinical cases, allowing the end-user to perform procedures on a repetitive basis. Complementary to the current apprenticeship model, which pairs resident trainees with accomplished surgeons, OSSimTech’s solution ensures scientific objectivity with respect to trainee’s evaluation of hand-eye coordination and skills. The Sim-OrthoTM simulator helps surgeons develop a wide variety of technical competencies and decision-based skills through an immersive learning practice format, which can be objectively measured for evaluating performance.
The solution features customized learning paths, designed and adapted for different training levels—offering an opportunity to learn from a wide variety of real clinical cases, from the most common to rare ones. “Through multiple partnerships with industry experts, we identified where our simulator can surpass the training standards employed today. We then rigorously conducted user testing in a beta environment to gather feedback to ascertain how our solution provides more value over current practices,” adds Blain.

As innovators in the niche market of orthopedic surgery, OSSimTech’s competitive advantage lies in its high-fidelity platform to simulate an open surgery. The Sim-Ortho simulator has an unmatched level of realism, which simulates physics-based interactions between surgical tools and tissues that are rendered in realtime, both visually and haptically. “We have developed our own ambitious haptic systems that have an unprecedented level of precision, accuracy, force, and performance characteristics,” remarks Blain. The solution mimics the very sensations of burring, pulling, pushing, drilling, sawing and cutting bones and organs in real time. In contrast to other simulators that provide less realistic, tactile, and experimental training simulations, OSSimTech’s platform integrates the three basic skills required for surgeries—visual, audio, and touch feedback.

The company has been testing its Sim-Ortho solution with several orthopedic surgeons in hospitals and universities across the world and recently undertook a clinical validation study with the University of Bournemouth in the UK. The study demonstrated positive results with face and content validity. Surgeons were impressed with the simulator and acknowledged its potential as a tool that can be used for training and perfecting surgery techniques.

OSSimTech is pursuing further development of its flagship product to offer a one-stop solution to train on open orthopedic procedures. Sim-Ortho will also include a module to train the fundamentals according to the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery curriculum. Focusing on expanding its product portfolio, the company welcomes partnerships and collaborations to create solutions and meet the growing challenges of training future surgeons.