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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2003 Aug;6(4):389-95.

Virtual reality training for health-care professionals.

Author information

  • 1Applied Technology for Neuro-Psychology Laboratory, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milan, Italy. fabrizia.mantovani@auxologico.it

Abstract

Emerging changes in health-care delivery are having a significant impact on the structure of health-care professionals' education. Today it is recognized that medical knowledge doubles every 6-8 years, with new medical procedures emerging everyday. While the half-life of medical information is so short, the average physician practices 30 years and the average nurse 40 years. Continuing education thus represents an important challenge to face. Recent advances in educational technology are offering an increasing number of innovative learning tools. Among these, Virtual Reality represents a promising area with high potential of enhancing the training of health-care professionals. Virtual Reality Training can provide a rich, interactive, engaging educational context, thus supporting experiential learning-by-doing; it can, in fact, contribute to raise interest and motivation in trainees and to effectively support skills acquisition and transfer, since the learning process can be settled within an experiential framework. Current virtual training applications for health-care differ a lot as to both their technological/multimedia sophistication and to the types of skills trained, varying for example from telesurgical applications to interactive simulations of human body and brain, to virtual worlds for emergency training. Other interesting applications include the development of immersive 3D environments for training psychiatrists and psychologists in the treatment of mental disorders. This paper has the main aim of discussing the rationale and main benefits for the use of virtual reality in health-care education and training. Significant research and projects carried out in this field will also be presented, followed by discussion on key issues concerning current limitations and future development directions.

PMID:
14511451
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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