July 24, 2020 – The NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) has recently announced that it has awarded a contract to German medical technology provider, VRmagic GmbH, for the provision of virtual reality ophthalmology training simulators.
The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Swansea Bay University Health Board were provided funding to purchase virtual reality training simulators for the education of medical students and doctors in ophthalmology – the branch of medicine and surgery that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of eye disorders – and opted to go with VRmagic’s solution.
The company offers a range of VR medical simulators, including:
- Eyesi Surgical – a virtual reality simulator for intraocular surgery training;
- Eyesi Slit Lamp – a diagnostic training system for optometrists and ophthalmologists;
- Eyesi Indirect Ophthalmoscope – an advanced diagnostic training simulator for examinations with an indirect binocular ophthalmoscope;
- Eyesi Direct Ophthalmoscope – a virtual reality simulator that is handled the same way as its real-life counterpart, and is used for teaching direct ophthalmoscopy to medical students;
- Earsi Otoscope – medical students can practice handling of the otoscope and recognition of the most common pathologies of the ear.
The use of high end virtual reality technology allows for an interactive, three dimensional learning environment with a high degree of realism. By having these simulators, medical students and doctors can train their diagnostic and surgical skills without risk to patients, and can do so independently of hospital routine.
According to the contract documents, the training systems that are required from VRmagic offer an embedded curriculum and a wide range of clinically relevant pathologies. The company’s computer based simulators enable an effective, quality assured training method, and record all training data in order to provide for evidence based assessments. This will allow both educators and trainees to obtain a detailed overview of the individual learning curve.
VRmagic states: “Today, eye specialists and medical students all over the world train their diagnostic and surgical skills on high-fidelity simulators from VRmagic – without putting any stress or risk on patients. By providing highly immersive VR technology and validated best practice training concepts, VRmagic is at the forefront of exploiting the potential of VR in medical training.”
The total award amount for the contract was GBP £396,308.00. According to the documentation, the procurement process did not involve a public call for competition, due to the fact that: “VRmagic is the only supplier in the world that makes this Simulator.” The Germany-based company distributes its machines in the UK, as well as across the globe. As a result, VRmagic was the sole company to bid on the tendering process, and the confirmation of the award by NHS Wales was done so voluntarily on the grounds of transparency.
Video credit: VRmagic / YouTube