New Opportunities for Surgeons to Earn CME credits with More Hands-On Robotic Surgery Simulation Training Courses Scheduled in 2013
The success of the hands-on robotic surgery simulation courses offered at this year’s AUA event in San Diego is generating buzz among surgeons and anticipation for the next round of training courses to be offered at popular industry meetings.
“The hands on courses in robotic surgery at the annual meeting of the AUA in San Diego, were very successful,” said Dr. Chandru Sundaram, Professor and Program Director in the Department of Urology at Indiana University School of Medicine, and Chair of the Laparoscopy, Robotic and New Surgical Technology Committee of the AUA. Dr. Sundaram helped organize all the hands-on robotic surgery courses at the AUA in 2013 along with the Dr. Elspeth McDougall, director of the AUA’s office of education. Dr. Sundaram also led a hands-on surgery simulation course at AUA, which focused on a Robotic Partial Nephrectomy.
“The presence of experienced faculty and three different forms of simulation in one course was unique and offered training that could be individualized to each trainee’s specific requirements,” Sundaram explained. “Being able to try out the different forms of robotic simulation also allowed participants to decide what would be most appropriate for them at their home institution. The ability to experience these different training modalities without any biased promotion of any specific device was another plus for the hands-on course.”
Dr. Robert Sweet, Urology Professor and Director of Medical School Simulation Programs at University of Minnesota, provided an overview of robotic surgery skills and simulators during one of the courses at AUA.
“The importance of simulation based training for the introduction of new transformative technology such as the da Vinci robot can not be understated,” said Sweet. “Hospitals that want to start a robotic program should make training to competency mandatory to ensure their surgeons and staff are familiar with the technology prior to operating on patients. The dV-Trainer offers a robust solution to this problem that many societies and hospitals have successfully integrated into their programs.”
Mimic Technologies, the creator of the dV-Trainer, plans to hold future robotic simulation training courses at the following upcoming annual meetings this year: Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Clinical Robotics Surgery Association, and Society of Robotic Surgeons.
In addition, Mimic has also teamed with Florida Hospital Nicholson Center to create MimicMed, a revolutionary global training and education institute located at Florida Hospital. The Robotic Surgery Simulation Courses provide 7.75 CMEs for surgeons who attend.
The training center houses eleven of Mimic’s advanced dV-Trainers utilized for half- and full day simulation courses, and Mimic’s innovative dry-labs help learners transition from simulated environments to actual hands-on practice on the robot. Courses happen monthly with the next scheduled simulation course on June 3, 2013. See the Course Calendar for a list of dates and registration info: http://www.mimicsimulation.com/training/course-calendar/
“As part of our strategic alliance partnership with Florida Hospital, we will continue to jointly develop simulation-based curricula that will accelerate the adoption of the latest robotic technologies, techniques, and surgical skill expertise,” said Todd Larson Director of Mimic Medical Education & Development. “I feel the use of virtual reality simulation as part of a ‘hands on’ training program demonstrates that simulation is now being accepted as an alternative means of conducting training and objectively evaluating the surgeon’s performance. Being involved in courses sponsored by AUA along with the experienced faculty, also shows that faculty consider simulation to be a very valuable tool in conducting training.”
For more details on the next hands-on training events happening at the upcoming Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Clinical Robotics Surgery Association, and Society of Robotic Surgeons events– be sure to “Like” the Mimic Facebook page.
There’s no doubt that robotic surgery is increasing in popularity and prominence as hospitals and medical facilities are trying to leverage technological advancement to achieve better outcomes, improve safety, and reduce costs. However, there are still some questions as to how robotic surgery will develop and evolve in the coming years. Jeff Berkley, CEO and founder of Mimic Technologies, recently spoke with Surgical Products and discussed the future of robotic surgery, the challenges and roadblocks to its development, and what is holding certain surgeons back from embracing robotic surgery and robotic technology.
MLabs, a new assembly of dry lab modules used in training robotic surgeons, has been further validated in a new study conducted by the University of Southern California (USC).
“We evaluated the performance of surgeons from around the world as they trained with virtual reality and then matching dry lab exercises. For both novice and experienced surgeons, we found that exceptional surgeon performance on the simulator was associated with exceptional performance on the real robot performing the dry lab tasks,” says Inderbir S. Gill, M.D., M.Ch., chairman & professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, at USC.
Mimic Technologies, the developers of MLabs, is the company that built the simulation platform for Intuitive’s daVinci robot. The MLabs validation study conducted by USC and was presented at the American Urology Association conference on May 7, 2013.
“MLabs was designed to bridge the gap between virtual reality training and training with the actual robot,” said Jeff Berkley, founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. “For the first time, surgeons will have comparable content across the different training platforms so that surgeons can efficiently learn the subtle differences between the virtual robot and the real thing.”
MLabs replicates exact physical representations of existing virtual reality exercises available on Mimic’s simulation training platform. The USC study shows that comparable training value can be derived from both virtual and dry lab training. Such a mixed modality training protocol could reduce overall training costs, as utilization of animals could be reserved for procedure-related training.
Study participants were categorized into two groups, “robot novice” and “expert” (surgeons averaging 200 surgical cases). Surgeons then completed three virtual reality exercises using the da Vinci Skills Simulator in addition to the dry lab version of each exercise on the da Vinci Surgical System. Simulator performance was assessed by metrics measured by the simulator. Dry lab performance was video-evaluated by expert review. Participants also completed a post-study questionnaire.
The “expert surgeons” in the study reported that the dry lab exercises were both “realistic” and “very useful” for the training of novice surgeons. Globally, expert surgeons completed all tasks more efficiently and effectively when compared with novices.
Mimic has developed MLabs for a number of exercises, including “Pick & Place,” “Pegboard,” and “Matchboard,” which became commercially available in April, 2013.
USC Researchers Confirm Training Value of Simulator Prototype
A new study validating a first of its kind prototype using augmented reality in surgical training was presented at a major medical meeting today. Augmented reality combines three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated objects and text superimposed onto real images and 3D surgical video footage, all in real time.
“The study’s results represent a significant move forward in training technology for robotic surgeons,” says Dr. Inderbir S. Gill, chairman & professor, Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California. “After using the new prototype, experienced surgeons rated the new training module as ‘very realistic’ and ‘very useful’ for new residents after performing hundreds of robotic cases.”
Mimic Technologies, the company that developed the simulation platform for the da Vinci robot, has built a proof of concept simulator by which surgeons manipulate their own virtual robot and interact with content within a 3D recording of robotic surgery. Researchers at the University of Southern California are collaborating with Mimic to determine the training value of a prototype training module that introduces this simulation technology.
The study evaluated the validity of all aspects of the prototype and will give feedback on what concepts provide the best training value. The knowledge gained will provide valuable insight as development moves from prototype to commercial product. This study was presented with a published abstract at the American Urological Association (AUA) meeting on May 7, 2013.
“Surgeons will now be able to have a more genuine experience prior to surgery, which will help better prepare them for actual surgery,” added Dr. Gill.
Pre-study questionnaires were used to classify participants as either novice or experts. Further exercises then assessed the levels of expertise. Study participants tested the first application of the technology, which allows surgeons to observe 3D video of an actual robotic kidney surgery while operating with virtual reality instruments. This combination of technologies allows the surgeon to identify the anatomy, demonstrate technical skills, and learn the steps of a highly complex operation.
“Augmented reality may prove to be an effective means for introducing surgeons to unique surgical scenarios that might not be encountered under a normal case load,” says Dr. Jeff Berkley, founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. “This new technology addresses the challenge of procedure-specific training, where every recorded surgical case has the potential to be converted into an augmented reality training experience.”
In surgical centers worldwide, existing virtual reality simulators for robotic surgery focus training on basic surgical skills. Future research will focus on organ-specific procedures, in order to further replicate highly specialized training procedures.
“Now we can train using real live video footage from the operating room that simulates the actual surgical environment, allowing the surgeon to operate in an interactive way,” says Dr. Andrew Hung, principal investigator and chief resident of Urology at the University of Southern California. “After all, if it does not seem real, you are basically just playing a video game.”
SAN DIEGO – The nation’s largest meeting of urologists will, for the first time, offer training courses in robotic surgery, using new, independently validated technology.
The American Urological Association’s Dr. Elspeth McDougall and Mimic Technologies, the company that designed the simulation software system for the da Vinci robot, will host the training. AUA’s annual conference takes place May 4-7, 2013.
“Robotic surgery is critical to treating particular urological diseases, but it takes time to learn and requires adequate training,” said Dr. Elspeth McDougall, professor of urology, and provincial coordinator of Health Simulation Education at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada; and the chair of the AUA Office of Education.
“The robotic skills training courses being offered at the 2013 AUA Annual Meeting in San Diego will help the national and international urologists understand the principals and techniques required to operate robotically and allow them to develop the basic skills and experience they need to begin to incorporate robotic surgery into their practice when it is the better option for patients,” added Dr. McDougall.
Nine courses will be offered at the AUA annual conference and will include hands-on simulation with both hardware and software provided by Mimic Technologies. As simulation-based training technology finds its way into ever- AUA CLASSES
increasing areas of use in medicine, there is a greater demand for time on simulators. As an adjunct or replacement to peer-to-peer training, the simulators allow surgeons to become familiar with the daVinci robot before coming into contact with a live patient.
“Surgical societies play a very important role when it comes to teaching surgeons how to use surgical robots. We notice that they are utilizing simulation more than ever,” says Dr. Jeff Berkley, founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. “Many hospitals utilize Mimic’s simulation platform for training surgeons in-house, but training protocols and standards can vary significantly between institutions.” He added, “Society sponsored courses help demonstrate best practices when it comes to robotics education, which allows educators to improve training programs at their respective hospitals.”
Mimic plans to hold future training courses at the following annual meetings: Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, Clinical Robotics Surgery Association, and Society of Robotic Surgeons.
“The importance of this training, which uses new sophisticated simulation technology, is that it allows each urologic surgeon to feel like they are in the operating room, while exploring the potential of the robot in a risk-free learning environment away from the patient,” says McDougall. “This allows surgeons to learn the technology and the expertise of robotic surgery much more quickly.”
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