Realize Medical Collaborates with Logitech to Bring Real Patient Scans Into VR Environments
Dr. Justin Sutherland PhD, co-founder / CEO at Realize Medical and clinical medical physicist at the Ottawa Hospital, has contributed today’s article demonstrating one powerful new learning tool now available within healthcare simulation. He shares how several simulation centers are already using Realize Medical’s Elucis platform to create and interact with medical models directly in Virtual Reality (VR). Imagine using a real MRI scan and directly integrating the patient’s anatomy directly into a VR learning environment — definitely something we want to learn a lot more about! Dr. Sutherland writes:
As we know, healthcare simulation programs have been using Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and 3D technologies since the early 1990s. With over 12,000 research publications indexed with key terms related to VR/AR applications within healthcare and a projected global market estimated at $5.1B by 2025, this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
It makes sense that these technologies are becoming so popular in the medical field and at simulation centers. VR/AR and 3D technologies are low-risk and realistic methods to plan treatments and train medical professionals with the overall goal of improving patient outcomes.
With the latest technological breakthroughs in tracking systems, small displays, and computing capability, VR technologies are more accurate and immersive than ever—and this has widespread implications for healthcare simulation and education centers. Companies like FundamentalVR, Osso VR, and PrecisionOS have all sprung from the demand for immersive training and planning simulations.
Recently, Realize Medical has taken the trend of using VR to enable medical education and training in a unique way. Our Elucis platform allows users to easily create patient-specific 3D medical models directly in virtual reality. Now, for the first time, healthcare trainees and practitioners can create accurate and user-defined medical models directly from images like CTs and MRIs, interact with them, and prepare them for 3D printing within one platform.
Realize Medical recently further enhanced the Elucis platform through a collaboration with Logitech, which brings the VR Ink stylus to the platform. The addition of the stylus to the platform enables precision input into Elucis by drawing in free space or on a hard surface.
“Giving users the ability to draw seamlessly within our program will greatly improve the user experience, bringing us closer to meeting our mission of providing healthcare professionals with the 3D modeling tools they need to improve patient care and education,” the company said in a statement.
Technologies like Elucis are a natural fit for educational and training purposes. Ever since the platform hit the market, users have commented that it’s an amazing tool for enabling the teaching and learning of anatomy. This is because learning human anatomy can be a difficult task: using 2D images from textbooks or screens to form a 3D cognitive model of the body is challenging.
The value that mixed reality technologies like VR and AR bring to this task is obvious and so it’s no surprise that several human anatomy education applications already exist like 3D Organon VR, ShareCare, Visible Body, and Complete Anatomy. These platforms provide curated, painstakingly made 3D content. Elucis goes a step further by putting the content generation tools in the hands of user: allowing them to quickly create 3D patient-specific 3D models in a virtual environment.
As physicians begin to specialize, VR technologies can be used for more targeted simulations such as surgical training and patient-specific treatment planning. The immersive nature of Elucis means that centers can set up ultra-specific and realistic training simulations. Here, the platform’s 3D printing features are especially useful because they can be used for physical surgical models. The immersive nature of Elucis is important. More realistic training can lead directly to better patient outcomes.
Because of these practical applications and advantages, the Elucis platform is being adopted by healthcare facilities and simulation centers around the world. Simulation centers in particular are taking advantage of Elucis’ technology by creating surgery planning lessons that use Elucis to quickly and accurately create patient-specific models. One simulation center uses Elucis to create cardiology, neurology, and urology modules. For example, the platform has been used to create models of congenital heart malformations, complex lesions in the brain such as tumors and epilepsy, and kidney tumors.
The value of VR/AR technologies in medical education and training is obvious. The medical and simulation industries are finally beginning to fully capitalize on the many VR innovations that have taken place in the last decade. That’s why the simulation industry is adopting technologies like Realize Medical’s Elucis at a faster pace than ever before. And with more realistic, innovative, and immersive technologies being used at simulation centers, patient outcomes are likely to improve.