Posted by Lindsey Grant on Sep 18, 2018 12:53:31 PM

Updated September 18, 2018

Leading orthopedists in France are working together with VirtaMed to standardize surgical training using simulation technology and in doing so, bring resident education and patient safety to the fore. This collaboration is in response to the November 2016 reform passed by French Parliament, introducing a mandate to provide all surgical residents with simulation training, effective November 2017.

To determine the best approach for arthroscopy, the French College of Orthopedic Surgery (CFCOT) conducted a two-part nationwide study in arthroscopic training methods in collaboration with the Francophone Society of Arthroscopy (SFA) and VirtaMed. Virtual reality simulators, such as the VirtaMed ArthroS™, accelerate the learning curves and thus help maintain the quality of training within the new constraints.

The first training and evaluation of the 116 orthopedic residents was finished in mid-January of 2018; the second evaluation round in June lasted three weeks and returned to Marseille, Lyon, Nancy, Paris, Amiens, Bordeaux and finally Rennes, where the tour ended with the Western Orthopedic Society (SOO) Congress on 28–30 June 2018. 107 residents participated in both training and evaluation sessions. No other study with such a high number of trainees in the same year and at the same level of education has ever been conducted. 

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From left: Dr. Martina Vitz, Prof. Hervé Thomazeau, Isabel Gauggel, Paul Walbron

Paul Walbron, in his last year of residency at Hôpitaux de Nancy Chirurgie Orthopédique et Traumatologique, is running the nationwide study with the support of the CFCOT president, Prof. Hervé Thomazeau and the SFA president, Prof. François Sirveaux. Paul Walbron will defend his doctorate thesis with the results by the end of October 2018 and present the first study results at SOFCOT 2018 in Paris. The findings promise unprecedented insights on such a large population of novices. 

“We are happy to see France take the initiative in embracing technological development and patient safety in medical training,” states Dr. Martina Vitz, VirtaMed Head of Training & Education. VirtaMed has supported the study by helping with the training arrangements and by providing the high-fidelity, virtual reality ArthroS™ simulators. 

In addition to completing a pioneer study, CFCOT is looking to use the VirtaMed ArthroS™ to give virtual reality simulation a national momentum and to make its use a reality across France. “[Simulation] is first of all an obligation, since the Ministry for Education and Research asked us to put it into place, the principle being that a resident must never operate for the first time on a patient but must repeat his gestures just like an airline pilot on a simulator,” says Professor Thomazeau. “Next, it is a pedagogical improvement. Before, we were able to help residents in surgical situations, in difficult situations, sometimes faced with time constraints. With the simulation, we have all the time; we can help the resident in the laboratory, then let him work independently and come back later to check. So, the status that the reform proffered to simulation is, in my opinion, especially important in the actual program of the residents’ surgery training.”