Development and evaluation of a trauma decision-making simulator in Oculus virtual reality

Am J Surg. 2018 Jan;215(1):42-47. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2017.02.011. Epub 2017 Feb 10.


Background: Consumer-available virtual-reality technology was launched in 2016 with strong foundations in the entertainment-industry. We developed an innovative medical-training simulator on the Oculus™ Gear-VR platform. This novel application was developed utilising internationally recognised Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) principles, requiring decision-making skills for critically-injured virtual-patients.

Methods: Participants were recruited in June, 2016 at a single-centre trauma-course (ATLS, Leinster, Ireland) and trialled the platform. Simulator performances were correlated with individual expertise and course-performance measures. A post-intervention questionnaire relating to validity-aspects was completed.

Results: Eighteen(81.8%) eligible-candidates and eleven(84.6%) course-instructors voluntarily participated. The survey-responders mean-age was 38.9(±11.0) years with 80.8% male predominance. The instructor-group caused significantly less fatal-errors (p < 0.050) and proportions of incorrect-decisions (p < 0.050). The VR-hardware and trauma-application's mean ratings were 5.09 and 5.04 out of 7 respectively. Participants reported it was an enjoyable method of learning (median-6.0), the learning platform of choice (median-5.0) and a cost-effective training tool (median-5.0).

Conclusion: Our research has demonstrated evidence of validity-criteria for a concept application on virtual-reality headsets. We believe that virtual-reality technology is a viable platform for medical-simulation into the future.

Keywords: Simulation; Surgical education; Trauma moulage; Virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advanced Trauma Life Support Care*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Clinical Decision-Making / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Simulation Training / methods*
  • Traumatology / education*
  • Virtual Reality*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*