A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) projects that the United States will face a shortage of between 54,100 and 139,000 physicians by 2033. The impending physician shortage combined with COVID-19 travel restrictions is no doubt accelerating this supply shortage which is having a disproportionate impact on rural areas.

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, located in the community of Huntington, West Virginia, has adopted a virtual reality (VR) training & assessment platform, Osso VR, to help streamline surgical education with the ultimate goal of providing a larger number of consistently trained providers. Since 2018, medical students and residents at Marshall University have used Osso VR to repeatedly practice, learn and track progress in a wide variety of procedures in VR.

“Residency programs must continue to evolve to produce top-notch residents,” said Matthew Bullock, DO, MPT, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Marshall University and Associate Program Director for the Orthopaedic Surgery Residency. “Now, due to COVID-19, we are trying to balance social distancing, resident education, and patient safety all simultaneously. As technology continues to rapidly evolve, Osso VR has led the way in affordable and realistic virtual training for our medical students and orthopaedic residents. The viral pandemic has ensured this technology is here to stay,”

Osso VR’s surgical training technology provides on-demand, educational experiences that are repeatable and measurable to help surgeons reach proficiency with new procedures and devices. The platform has become integral to surgical training programs worldwide and is currently used by more than 20 teaching hospitals and 14 medical device companies in 20 countries.

“As a former resident myself, I empathize with the situation today’s surgeons are in as a result of COVID-19. The data shows that pre-COVID graduation residents were increasingly undertrained and underprepared for practice. This pandemic unfortunately has had a significant negative impact on this dynamic with likely downstream ramifications we’re only beginning to discover,” said Justin Barad, MD, Osso VR’s Co-Founder and CEO. “Our dream at Osso VR is to make training more effective, efficient and trackable so that we can streamline the 14-16 years it takes to become a surgeon. With a bigger and fast pipeline of highly proficient providers, we will be able to continue to provide quality care for patients all around the world.”