Med Learning Group White Papers
Using Virtual Technology to Advance CME’s Role in Today’s Healthcare Environment
By: Matthew Frese, Christina Gallo, Andrew Grzybowski, Mazi Rasulnia, and Lauren Welch
The continuing medical education (CME) industry constantly faces the challenge of engaging learners in a manner that facilitates recall and advances practice change. There are new and innovative uses of technologies that provide a more diverse and immersive learning experience, which has the potential to improve CME outcomes. As Dr. Lila Davachi and her colleagues point out, dopamine is an important neurochemical in terms of capturing an individual’s attention, and “varying learning techniques provides additional novelty that can help raise dopamine levels to keep the learner’s attention in the learning environment.”1 In particular, by projecting participants inside a patient’s body and forcing learners to use a variety of senses at once, virtual technologies can better hold their attention, improve their comprehension, and facilitate their recall compared with strictly didactic lessons.
Some of these technologies include virtual reality (VR). VR is “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.”2 VR is currently applied in a variety of ways in the healthcare industry, such as helping surgeons visualize a surgery, aiding chronic patients in relaxation, allowing long-term patients to participate in outside activities, supporting rehabilitation of traumatized nervous systems, making repetitive motion exercised more fun, to name a few uses.