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Surgeons Sharpen Skills with New Training Simulator

A groundbreaking computerised simulator currently being tested at hospitals in France will enable trained and trainee orthopaedic surgeons to sharpen their skills without having to actually do so on patients during ‘live’ operations.

Developed by an interdisciplinary team of experts through a project called Technology Enhanced Learning for Orthopaedic Surgery (TELEOS), the simulator softens the boundaries between theory and practice, taking vocational training into a new dimension. TELEOS for instance enables trainees to place a pin in a patient’s pelvis - to rectify problems caused by disease or breakage - just by using a computer mouse.

The pin is manipulated with the mouse at the computer screen, it can be placed, oriented and pushed in the body, thus exactly simulating the way the surgeon acts in the operating room, as this intervention is taking place without opening the body.

The TELEOS project team comprises surgeons, computer and education scientists, didacticians and psychologists.

Normally, for trained and trainee surgeons, experience would have to be gathered in a “live” environment, within an operating theatre, working on the living object, strongly depending on the supervision of a long-experienced surgeon. Trials with TELEOS have shown that a trainee who has experience practising techniques with the simulator can expect less intervention when coming to grips with real life situations in the operating theatre.

Currently, the TELEOS learning environment is being intensively tested to prove its added educational value. After this testing period, it is planned to be introduced in hospitals in Grenoble. France at the end of this year. The project team is confident that the benefits of the system will be recognised by the surgeons and trainee surgeons who will use it.

Lucile Vadcard, a team member from MeTAH, Grenoble France says, “The more people able to see the benefit of TELEOS, the better. We will keep our ears to the ground in terms of what is going on in research in education technology, so we can stay ahead. Kaleidoscope, the European Network of Excellence for Technology Enhanced Learning, will help us to do this.”

Beate Kleessen | alfa
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