917 Building Virtual Reality Into Global Surgical Training: An Innovative Approach Applied in UgandaK Narang, H Please, A Rowe, J Dhanda
Virtual Reality in Medicine and Surgery (VRiMS) is an academic working group devoted to creating technology-based solutions in post-graduate surgical and medical education. Based at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) with funding from Health Education England they use ‘Extended Reality’ including fully immersive Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) which overlays digital information onto real-time visualisation, and 360-degree video which offers a partially immersive experience. Benefits include reduced costs of delivering education, improving trainees’ experiences, and improving accessibility to surgical opportunities.
VRiMS utilizes 360-degree video of cadaveric teaching streamed via low-tech cardboard headsets to deliver a novel teaching modality in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Uganda was the first location of a proof-of-concept course over 4 days delivered in 3 modalities: in-person - 10 delegates from East Africa provided scholarships (funded by Saving Faces) to travel to Brighton; 79 delegates attending virtually at a conference centre in Kampala; and over 1000 delegates globally attending remotely from a diversity of nations. Qualitative data was gathered for thematic analysis.
Feedback was very positive, and barriers identified included requirements of a smart phone and sufficient internet. Ongoing links were developed with other LMIC units, with a recent conference run in Kenya.
VRiMS aims to ensure scientific validity in the projects being run, and analysis of the courses have given actionable insights into the experiences of surgical trainees both in the UK and in LMICs, showing that Extended Reality has enormous potential to benefit trainees worldwide.