Smith+Nephew logoSmith+Nephew (NYSE:SNN) announced today that it is expanding its medical education curriculum with advanced simulation technologies.

London-based Smith+Nephew offers new training through its academy center of excellence. Professionals can access orthopedic, robotics and sports medicine procedural skills-training using virtual and augmented reality, haptics and 3D interactive gaming.

Stephen Mitchell is a consultant trauma & orthopedic surgeon at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust. He recently led a hip fracture management course for Smith+Nephew using VR.

“There is a huge opportunity with virtual reality for future training applications to drive both an accelerated learning process and distance training,” Mitchell said in a news release. “It lends itself perfectly to the 2D/3D nature of trauma, arthroscopy and arthroplasty procedures.”

A popular method for medical education

The British medtech giant’s move suggests virtual training and education are here to stay. Many medical device companies turned to remote training tools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith+Nephew said recent randomized controlled trials demonstrated that VR training can offer a more effective way to learn surgical techniques. Training groups complete assessments faster and demonstrated greater retention upon re-testing at two weeks.

Surveyed participants said they felt an increase in surgical procedure knowledge thanks to the workshop. They added that it better prepared them for the cadaveric lab because of its instrumentation walkthrough. Additionally, 90% of participants responded “yes” when asked if they’d like to see more VR sessions in future medical education programs.

Currently, Smith+Nephew offers a number of educational VR modules. These include the world’s first for arthroscopic meniscal repair launched earlier this year, the company said. It plans to launch a module for total knee arthroplasty using the robotic-assisted CORI system next month.

“Central to Smith+Nephew’s commitment to being a global leader in medical education and improving patient outcomes is providing a state-of-the-art, interactive learning environment tailored to the needs of the healthcare professional,” said Cindy Walker, SVP of global medical education for Smith+Nephew. “With Smith+Nephew Academy, we are actively transforming the way we educate our customers around the world by surrounding them with leading-edge technology, clinical content and scientific data.”