Take a look at the virtual hospital which recreates an environment where patients can practise in a simulation environment without the risk of getting infected by highly contagious diseases.
This virtual hospital was developed by the UPV/EHU and Cruces Hospital that is based in the Basque Country as a new learning model for doctors and hospital staff.
It has the same characteristics as a hospital with the only disadvantage being that there are no ‘real patients’ for the health professionals to train on. The simulation was developed 10 years ago and is now called the Joseé M. Rivera Virtual Hospital and it has managed to make the virtual simulation an element that allows the practice of clinical experiences in a controlled environment.
This hospital offers equipment that allows students “to acquire a series of skills and abilities while avoiding risking the patients well being because of this learning exercise,” says Joaquin Losada Rodriíguez, a researcher from the Department of Surgery, Radiology and Physical Medicine at the UPV/EHU.
“Thanks to the environment and real or unreal patients, students can experiment and get an idea of the situations they will find themselves in, in the future when they are in a real hospital, without the fear of making mistakes with the patient during the learning process,” adds Losada.
“Clinical skills are classified into technical and non-technical. The former are related to professional practice, such as taking someone’s medical history or giving a few stitches, while social skills ( communication, leadership, etc.), cognitive skills (information processing and problem-solving) and ethical skills are called non-technical. In order to learn technical and non-technical skills in health sciences, training in computer technology and social sciences is required,” says Joaquin Losada.
The educational paradigm shift is based on simulation and digital technology, among others. "The philosophy of simulation is that learning is based on experience," says Losada.
"Virtual reality is digital technology in computer-generated environments to obtain practical clinical knowledge. For example, its use in laparoscopic colon surgery has improved knowledge, being more effective and with more rigorous evaluation than less interactive procedures. These data are supported by student evaluation questionnaires on the quality of teaching received in comparison with traditional teaching and new technologies", adds the UPV/EHU researcher.
Similarly, Losada is optimistic because the joint use of the virtual hospital by two organisations such as the UPV/EHU and the health system has enriched undergraduate studies and specialised training in medical education.
The researcher claims that "the virtual hospital is a fundamental element for the new learning model that completes the traditional model based on learning with the teacher". However, after his 10 years of work, the researcher highlights "the need for updating, that is, the need to incorporate new technologies, new knowledge, etc., since surgical techniques are being revolutionized and modified".