Virtual Simulator Training

Vascular surgeon Mathew Wooster, M.D., developed a virtual simulator training for the vascular surgery integrated residents with the help of his colleague, Elizabeth Genovese, M.D., who joined the effort by formalizing the survey and investigating potential research publication opportunities.

According to Wooster, this is a pilot trial of virtual endovascular simulation training utilizing benchtop simulation model and one-on-one mentoring with a Zoom interface. The trainees will first film themselves attempting a variety of arterial cannulations by selecting the appropriate wire and catheter combinations.

They will then have one-hour Zoom based instructional sessions to review/train their skills with faculty. This will be followed by independent replication of those cannulations.

“Using a telephone camera (with Zoom) to display the benchtop model as “live virtual fluoroscopy” and the laptop camera (with Zoom) to watch the trainee’s hands on the catheter, we can give real time feedback and instruction from an appropriate social distance,” said Wooster.

Wooster and Genovese will then compare metrics including subjective analysis of the usability of the model, the benefit of virtual mentoring, perceived improvement in skills and importance to training, number of catheter exchanges required, and time to successful cannulation.

They plan to move to the more advanced 3D Systems Simbionix electronic simulators, also with remote instruction. Pending results and feedback on these pilot programs, Wooster and Genovese envision broadening this training to a larger audience with additional grant funding, noting they have already been contacted by multiple parties to consider national and international collaboration for remote training.

“Drs. Wooster and Genovese have consistently leveraged technology to create new educational and clinical opportunities. This is a novel program that demonstrates how MUSC Vascular is leading the way and changing what’s possible,” said Ravi Veeraswamy, M.D., chief of Vascular Surgery. “Kudos to them for once again putting MUSC Vascular at the forefront of innovation and education.”