FundamentalVR, providers of immersive training technology for the medical community, launched Fundamental Surgery in the United States, what the company says is a first-of-its-kind SaaS (software as a service) software platform that combines virtual reality (VR) with haptics (the sense of touch) to create a low-cost and scalable flight-simulator like experience for trainee and qualified surgeons. Unlike other medical training simulations that make professionals feel like they have been through a game-like experience, Fundamental Surgery creates an authentic environment that lets users experience and navigate the same visuals, sounds and feelings they would during a real surgical procedure.
At the heart of the system is its Surgical Haptic Intelligence EngineTM (SHIETM) that’s calibrated to mimic real-life sensations of medical tools and tissue variants. It combines immersive haptic technology with low-cost, off-the-shelf hardware that offers surgical simulation through plug-and-play simplicity. The company says it’s designed to improve patient outcomes while combating the increasing cost of medical training that tops $15 billion annually in the U.S. Fundamental Surgery was created by a team of VR, haptic specialists and surgical training experts and has been tested by more than 500 surgeons.
Its initial U.S. offering will focus on training packages within the Orthopedic Surgical disciplines for these procedures: Spinal Pedicle Screw Placement, Posterior Hip Replacement and Total Knee Arthroplasty. More orthopedic procedures will be added during Q4 2018 with other disciplines, including general surgery and cardiovascular slated for 2019.
The company says current simulation solutions require special, static machinery that cost $100 thousand+ or provide a game-like experience with no sense of touch. This means only 0.5% of the world’s surgeons have access to simulations.
FundamentalVR’s mission is “to democratize surgical training by placing safe, affordable and authentic simulations within arm’s reach of every surgeon in the world,” according to Richard Vincent, founder and CEO. “With the help of some of the top minds in medicine, as well some of the most advanced VR and haptic programmers, we have created a solution that can be deployed anywhere – with limited investment – to allow surgeons to learn and hone their skills over and over again in a safe and controlled environment.”
Fundamental Surgery eliminates the need for complex and expensive training systems, because the software works in conjunction with any modern PC or laptop, a standard VR headset and two haptic arm devices – all of which are widely available for purchase.
While other simulations are limited to visual and audio interactions, Fundamental Surgery takes it to a new level with SHIETM, its proprietary technology that the company says adds a real-time sense of touch. Users can feel the movement and interaction of tissue, muscle and bone as they would in an actual procedure within a sub-millimeter of accuracy of resistance.
SHIETM contains a library of tools and tissue variants that mimic real life sensations that have been calibrated by a leading team of surgeons and KOLs. SHIETM continually adapts with feedback and is designed to work with new haptic devices such as new arms and gloves.
During each simulation, users will be able to assess and measure performances and receive real-time feedback on instrument use and techniques (including pedicle probe, x-ray and sagittal saw), procedural accuracy and patient impact. This information will also be able to be stored for both the user and the admin control, allowing changes in competency to be tracked, so progress and areas for refinement can be identified.
The system will also be able to be programmed to present users with branched outcomes – rare complications or scenarios that can happen during live procedures such as unexpected bleeding, abnormal anatomy or a change in a patient’s condition.
Fundamental Surgery’s orthopedic simulation experiences are now available in the United States, with introductory prices starting at just $350 a month. www.fundamentalsurgery.com.