Virtual Reality technologies have the potential to improve training of medical imaging professionals

Virtual Reality (VR) technologies have the potential to significantly improve how medical imaging professionals are trained and perform, but advancements in how process data is collected, operationalized, and used in VR simulations are needed. That is the key finding in new research presented  at the 20th annual Innovations in Medical Education (IME) conference by Inteleos™, a non-profit global healthcare certification organization.

In their study titled “Data Requirements for the Use of VR Platforms for the Practical Assessment of Medical Imaging”, Inteleos’ data science consultant Heather Harris, Ph.D. (Herkimer Consulting) and Inteleos data scientist Denali Carpenter, evaluated the current capabilities of VR technology along with the data streams needed to validate the authenticity of tasks using this medium for real world applications. Their research explores current streams of data tracked in VR (touch-sense displays, controllers, etc.) and the authenticity of dynamic processes compared to real-world sonographic simulations. They also evaluated the viability of capturing new integrated data, patterns of procedure, and processes used by experts that can then be used for training professionals and offering diagnostic feedback.

“Numerous studies show that experiential learning is more impactful than the classroom in many situations. VR can offer a flexible framework for performing sonography tasks and receiving formative feedback,” said Harris. “But the industry needs to adopt standards on how data is collected and assessed, particularly for process-oriented feedback. Our study aims to begin bringing the best practices in data science to VR-based imaging assessment.”

“The main goal of this new research is to have people understand the current state of VR and data science,” said Carpenter. “What we noticed was a gap between the VR systems and the actual data science. There’s constantly data coming in but there’s not a lot of people taking that data and developing software that can then inform the system. We want to provide sound recommendations for how data science can grow within the VR space.”

The IME conference brings together educators, leaders, scholars, and learners in the medical community to promote change through innovation in health professionals’ education. This year’s event is online. Inteleos’ IME session is geared toward medical imaging educators and professionals who are interested in using VR to improve the practice. The 2023 IME Conference, hosted by the Department of Medical Education at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, will take place February 16 – 17, 2023. Attendees will have access to educational sessions throughout the two-day event. Harris and Carpenter will present their study on February 17 at poster #158.