You’re a fourth year veterinarian and you’re on Day 2 of your emergency clinic rotation.
Before you have time for your coffee, a lethargic, breathing-ridden German Shepherd rushes through the door. Under the supervision of an instructor, you make a quick decision: intubate and help breathe. Manage his pain with the correct dose of carprofen or methadone. Full body examination, ultrasound, X-ray. Listen to his heart and lungs. Does he need emergency surgery?
Such scenarios really play out at veterinary teaching hospitals like Colorado State University.But soon a scenario like this could also occur Virtual worldthrough a safe range of headsets and software systems.
Over the past four years, a multidisciplinary team of researchers at CSU has virtual reality It has a role to play in veterinary education and training. And what could be better than one of the best veterinary schools in the world?
Back in 2018, Pedro Boscan, Professor of Clinical Sciences, and a small team received a grant from the American College of Veterinary Medicine to create a virtual reality prototype for a proof-of-concept of an anesthesia machine.
Two years later, the team received funding from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and launched VetVR. VetVR is a campus-wide initiative involving clinicians, computer scientists, graphic artists, and engineers to develop and test virtual educational tools for veterinary medicine. Although VetVR is primarily focused on veterinary applications, its goals have expanded since its inception.
Boskan, who heads the anesthesiology department at James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, said: “We want to know what works and what doesn’t. That’s part of the research we’ve been doing. What are the drawbacks? How much does it cost? How hard is it?” Is it?”
At CSU, the VetVR team is one of many virtual and augmented reality-based projects investigating future applications for the technology. For example, another group on campus developed a virtual reality program to teach human anatomy. The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, through a focused initiative launched in 2017, has spearheaded the expansion of such efforts and generated other investments in teaching and research.
Over the past two years, Boscan and the VetVR team have developed virtual modules to train veterinary students in the basics of anesthesia: how to sedate a patient, how to use an anesthesia machine, how to administer drugs, emergency How to perform an ultrasound, and everything else that actually happens. herbal medicine.
Their goal is to create a virtual environment much like a classroom or clinic rotation training. One day, virtual tools like this will complement classroom facilities, making training accessible to more students even in remote locations.
Their effort coincides with a general overhaul of CSU’s DVM curriculum, along with an expansion of its facilities. Major updates planned for the next few years include more hands-on experience in surgery, a greater focus on problem-solving and decision-making, and stronger training in an increasingly complex healthcare system. will be
The VetVR team believes that virtual reality could become part of a modern suite of educational tools not just for veterinary medicine, but for fields that require cognitive and manual skills to problem-solve complex situations. I believe there is
virtual veterinary anesthesia
At the end of last spring’s semester, the VetVR team tested the latest VR tools and recruited students to volunteer anesthesiology exams within a virtual setting. These same students were tested conventionally in a classroom and assessed directly by a human instructor. The research team collected data on student experiences and compared performance on two types of exams.
Lynn Keets is a third-year DVM student who collected data from students undergoing anesthesia training in a virtual setting. She presented these results at the International Veterinary Critical Care Symposium in San Antonio in September and most recently at the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Annual Summit in Portland, Oregon. did.
Keets and team found that VR increased the cognitive load of the trial. Virtual girlfriend reality was new to him for 70% of the students surveyed, so it is possible that the learning curve was a factor in performance and that the virtual setting complicated the material tested. But Boskan says the virtual girlfriend’s reality eliminates the subjectivity of professors administering exams in real life. “What we do know for sure is that professors are nice and computers aren’t good,” Boscan said.
Keats believes that the next generation of learners could be more open to virtual technologies like the ones she and her team have been exploring. … not everyone is adapted to sitting in a classroom, so it adds value that way,” she said.
The research helps focus on whether virtual reality is a useful tool for educating veterinarians. This year, we plan to put the virtual tools through even more rigorous testing. “We train them in virtual reality and examine them in real machines,” said Boskan.
Go to game space
While working on veterinary and anesthesia projects, the team is dreaming bigger. In parallel with their research, the team brought in coders and developers to virtual reality games It allows players to “treat” patients at a veterinary clinic, offering them complex decision-making and medical outcome opportunities.
The VetVR game will be available soon via SteamVR as part of the game studio the team has named Liekos. The researchers hope that the public’s attention will help them refine the software and make it better for later use in educational settings. Their plan is to release other products through Liekos Studio, including a VR app for mental health.
Cyane Tornatzky, Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts and Art History and VetVR collaborator, is energized by the translational applications of the team’s new technology.
“Electronic art has a long history with interactive kiosks, websites as an art form, and the idea that video games can contain authentic content,” says Tornatzky.
The team has also been able to hire some of Tornatzky’s students who possess the necessary skills to translate electronic art into cutting-edge technology. “It was fun, innovative, and challenging,” she said.
This game was created to help anyone, not just veterinary students, practice basic veterinary skills such as examining patients, managing prescriptions, diagnosing, and ultimately saving a dog’s life. . This is closer to the team’s goal of creating high-risk emergency scenarios for use in clinical teaching, as it reflects the outcome of real-world decision-making.
Preparing for the veterinarian’s workplace
In an emergency, or even a veterinary clinic visit, one wrong decision can lead to disaster. But that’s exactly why Boscan and others think virtual veterinary training can help veterinarians prepare for the workplace.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time how to recreate the stress of being in the doctor’s office,” Boskan said. “When you’re in an emergency, you have to learn how to deal with stress and make important decisions.”
In both human and animal health care settings, students were traditionally trained through rotation, closely watched by mentors, and thrown into real-world scenarios as they walked through the door. Boscan says there is no substitute for the experience of working with real patients, and that will continue to be the case.
But what if there was a way to rigorously recreate those experiences without risking real life? Virtual training might be the answer. It also provides reproducibility. The same student can practice her 100 different scenarios he 100 times. Such reproducibility does not exist in reality, he says, Boscan.
The team continues to explore, validate and innovate on virtual education. They recently won a grant from the High Plains Intermountain Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. The grant will develop a prototype training module for dairy farmers to use proper personal protective equipment. Researchers will continue to assess virtual reality and cognitive load throughout the work. That is, how much information a user can process at any given time and how to optimize learning.
To raise awareness of their work and inspire future veterinarians, the team will make the veterinary clinic application free of charge at CSU’s new Spur campus in Denver. The campus features a new virtual reality lab in the Vida building.
Work like this, and the continued development of the anesthesiology and veterinary clinic training environment, will give the team even more insight into evaluating new technologies for the next generation of healthcare professionals.
“We will begin veterinary medicineBut we believe VR will be part of the future of education,” said Boscan.
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