Virtual Learning for Med Students

Students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, are now able to dissect a human cadaver using virtual reality headsets and hand-held controllers. This is possible since a new system was recently launched by the Centre for Healthcare Simulation at the NUS Medical School.

The Virtual Interactive Human Anatomy (VIHA) system enables students to manipulate intricate three-dimensional (3D) virtual renditions of the human body which would supplement hands-on-training done with real human cadavers to help med students learn about human anatomy.

Students can perform dissection on a specific or general part of a virtual human cadaver, removing body parts to uncover underlying structures and viewing them from multiple angles. Each move can be reversed and repeated until the student is familiar with the relationships between the various components of the body which is not possible with an actual cadaver.

VIHA allows students to navigate the human anatomy at their own pace, review and be able to reinforce complex spatial relationships of anatomical structures like muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, veins, and organs.

“Animation of joint movements has also been incorporated to highlight muscle actions to produce certain movements. VIHA helps students with visualization and gives them a better understanding of the connection between the various structures”, reports, Suresh Pillari, Centre Director for Healthcare Simulation.

VIHA training is currently available for first and second year NUS Medicine students, while students from year three forward will be introduced to VIHA training progressively with more advance features including more interactive animation, clinical pathology, and self-directed questions.

There are also plans to extend VIHA to nursing and postgraduate students, and potentially to surgical residents for pre-operative surgery planning, and rehearsal of procedures, as well as to introduce more complex training such as in emergency hospitals during wars, or in when a mass casualty incident might take place.

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