Friday, July 27, 2007

Virtual Heroes: Serious Games For Heart Surgery Simulations

Serious Games creating a medical learning environment


Via: Virtual Heroes Inc. (VHI)

Virtual Heroes Inc. (VHI), the “Advanced Learning Technology Company”, creates collaborative interactive learning solutions for Federal Systems, Healthcare and Corporate Training markets. Advanced Learning Technologies (ALT) leverage simulation learning and digital games based learning paradigms to accelerate learning, increase proficiency and reduce training costs.

On my previous post Virtual Heroes: Serious Games and Simulations I addressed the Astronaut Moon Mars & Beyond prototype created for consideration by NASA. The purpose of the prototype is to give NASA the means to communicate the exploration vision to the American people and Congress.

Now, VHI announced that it has expanded its reach into the healthcare market with the creation of two instructional 3D simulations for heart surgery procedures. According to the company, these simulations specifically demonstrate new treatments for atrial fibrillation. One simulation demonstrates an open chest procedure, while the second focuses laparoscopic access in a closed chest setting.





“We knew that showing the surgery, as realistically as possible, would be critical to teaching the procedures and much clearer than trying to explain it,” said Dr. Andy Kiser, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at First Health Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, NC. “In this case, we believed that a picture (or pictures) would be worth millions of words, to show exactly how the surgery could be performed.”

Virtual Heroes went to great lengths to ensure that the simulation was as realistic as possible. VHI artists took the time to understand the procedure by attending a “surgery” Dr. Kiser performed on a prosthetic heart and chest, and worked closely with surgeons to understand the appropriate terminology and ensure that everything was anatomically and physiologically correct.


The end result was a powerful visual aid with realistic 3D views of the front and back of the heart as experienced during actual surgical procedures, complemented by a detailed narrative provided by the surgeon. Dr. Kiser was so pleased with the first project, that VHI was contracted to do a second simulation featuring a different surgical procedure.