New virtual classroom lets surgeons learn together remotely
A virtual classroom has launched to enable surgeons to come together and take part in interactive teaching sessions and lectures remotely, from anywhere in the world.
‘Teaching Space' has been created by FundamentalVR to improve the way surgeons are trained. It follows on from their virtual platform Fundamental Surgery, which lets an unlimited number of users practice, learn, and teach together inside an operating room.
The addition of Teaching Space means multiple people can meet in a virtual classroom setting complete with an interactive whiteboard, where they can conduct lessons, discuss a procedure before attempting it in the virtual operating room, or debrief after practicing a procedure.
Instructors and their trainees can interact, write notes on the whiteboard and share ideas, regardless of where they're located. They can also easily transition between Fundamental Surgery's virtual operating room and Teaching Space.
FundamentalVR say that it can also benefit medical device and pharmaceutical companies, by saving time and money on bringing surgeons and key opinion leaders into the virtual room for briefings, Q&A sessions and one-on-one training without the need to travel.
Peter Rainger, Chief Learning Officer at FundamentalVR, explained that the virtual classrooms are a solution to the disruption caused by the pandemic. "COVID-19 has presented significant challenges to surgical training and in many cases completely disrupted traditional training programs, which have relied upon face-to-face events" he said.
"Video conferencing facilities have come to meet the immediate communication needs of many. However, these 2D platforms do not fully replace the teaching and learning opportunities of being together in the same room talking about a patient case pre-operatively or live in an operating room looking at the patient anatomy and handling surgical tools.
"Our new Teaching Space, which provides a collaborative environment for surgical education in VR, allows residents and KOLs from across the globe to come together for teaching sessions, to review cases and share their knowledge and skills. In our new Teaching Space, I can simply pick up a pen and draw out concepts on a whiteboard and allow trainees to annotate and write comments, all in real-time, whilst talking as if we were in the same room.The possibilities for this new flexible teaching space in the future are endless."
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”