The Metaverse as a platform for education and training within medicine and surgery

1st International Congress for Innovation in Global Surgery

doi: 10.52648/ICIGS.1000_34

The Metaverse as a platform for education and training within medicine and surgery

Karamveer Narang
VRIMS/NHS, United Kingdom

Introduction: Virtual Reality in Medicine and Surgery (VRiMS) has successfully demonstrated a scalable and affordable method of utilising immersive technology in medical education. VRiMS has hosted 5 one-week cadaveric live streaming courses at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) utilising 360VR cameras and the last course co-hosted a global medicine initiative with GASOC (Global Anaesthesia, Surgery and Obstetric Collaborative) streaming the Bellwether procedures of caesarean section, spinal anaesthesia, and gasless laparoscopy to surgeons from 43 countries. The next step in development involves utilisation of the metaverse. The metaverse is, by definition, a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. The development of this resource can have a wide scale impact within global surgery and medicine as it would allow people to meet in an immersive environment to facilitate learning as well as exchange ideas.
Methodology: We utilised Mozilla Hubs in order to develop a meeting space utilising virtual reality and the metaverse. A proof of concept was created, and a meeting held with 5 members of our working group. Content from VRiMS was used to facilitate discussion and the share ideas. The meeting space could be accessed either via a VR headset or via an internet browser.

Results: As this is a proof of concept involving a small sample size, results were predominantly obtained via qualitative methods and consisted mostly of feedback from the users. Feedback obtained was generally positive in terms of the ease of access to the technology and the potential for it to be used as a meeting space. There were also issues identified such as the need for a stable internet connection as well as the limit on what type of content could be shared via the Mozilla Hub platform.

Discussion:The development of remote learning has been accelerated not only within medicine but in all other domains due to the COVID pandemic. We feel that the metaverse could be an exciting way to bridge the gap between face-to-face learning vs online learning. This could have major implications within global medicine and surgery as it allows wider access to training and resources especially towards lower income countries and healthcare systems.

Keywords: Metaverse, Virtual Reality, Education and Training

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