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Issue 22, March 2016

Pure science, no fiction: Introducing new validation studies for VirtaMed simulators

Dear partners, clients, friends and innovation enthusiasts,

This has been a successful start into the year for us, what with the several validation studies piling up evidence in support of simulation training in general, and VirtaMed simulators in particular; not to forget the ACL Reconstruction Module release for our ArthroS™ Knee simulator. This newsletter will also introduce another VirtaMed face, and let Aunt Sophie ponder the possibility of a parenting simulator in her satirical advice column.

All VirtaMed simulators validated by medical research

A virtual reality surgical simulator can look good, save money and boost your image. However, none of that means anything if the simulator doesn’t do what it was built to do: prepare practitioners for real-life medical procedures. That’s why validation studies are so important, and that’s why we’re so proud to say that all our simulators have been validated by the medical community. Three recent studies evaluated the HystSim™, PelvicSim™ and ArthroS™ Shoulder simulators.

Read more about the validation studies

VirtaMed develops virtual reality simulation for ACL reconstruction

VirtaMed has developed a virtual reality simulation for ACL reconstruction. This new orthopedic training module for knee arthroscopy will be available for the VirtaMed ArthroS™ simulator.

Read more about the release

Meet VirtaMed: “Photorealism is great, but solving a teaching problem is more important”

Basil Fierz is part of the software engine team that works to improve the performance of VirtaMed’s surgical simulator systems. In other words, Basil’s job is to solve problems that customers didn’t even know they had.

Read the full interview

Conference corner – see our simulators in action!

Would you like to try out one of our simulators? Come meet us at a conference. You can find us at BASK already tomorrow, and on 20–22 April we will travel to Tokyo with our entire simulator fleet to participate in Medtec Japan  – check out the Swiss pavilion! In May you will find us with the ArthroS™ at ESSKA in Barcelona, and in June we will be present at the EFORT orthopedics conference in Geneva. And if we look as far as July, you can plan to try out our gynecology simulators at ESHRE.

Our sales partners also showcase our simulators around the world: In April, CAE Healthcare, for example, will take the ArthroS™ to AANA in Boston, as well as to MAOA in Bonita Springs. Read the full list of ours and our sales partners' conference visits on our website.

Aunt Sophie: How to simulate parenting with rigor

Dear Aunt Sophie,

Early in my marriage I used an IUD for contraception; my gynecologist had trained on a simulator and was very gentle. Later we had some trouble getting pregnant, but a simulator-trained clinician performed a successful embryo transfer. We're expecting our baby girl Annie this summer, and we've made sure the midwife has practiced every possible complication on a simulator.

However, our pediatrician says there is no simulator that we could train on to become good parents. As an engineer, I find this unacceptable, and I plan to develop one myself. Do you have any tips for me?

Dr. Jane Haley
Dear Dr. Haley, congratulations on the baby!

There is indeed no scientifically accepted simulator that would prepare you for parenthood, and I applaud your can-do attitude in the face of such a task. If you are truly serious about creating a novelty simulator, you have to commit to making it scientifically rigorous.

Listen to professionals to make sure you simulate all the relevant factors – this is the only way to reach content validation. You need to have an expert-defined list of the most crucial achievements a good parent has to reach, and your simulator needs to focus on those traits. It may be a good idea to work with a Delphi panel of at least 6 experts to define not only the simulation content, but also the metrics whereby good parenting is measured on the simulator.

That's when we arrive at construct validity: if you promise that your simulator can measure the difference between insecure parents-to-be and successful child carers, as depicted by those expert-defined traits, you will need to prove it: create a test group with both good and bad parents, have them try out your simulator and compare their results. If your simulator can reliably tell the good from the bad, you are on the right track. Are you looking for concurrent validity? Compare the trainees' results, measured by your simulator, to results from other widely accepted parental training tools for calibration.

However, even if your simulator nails these parts, you may run into obstacles when reaching for transfer validity: you would need to make the layman and -woman believe that your simulator is indeed effective for training their parental skills in real life. I suspect that anyone who has seen a small snot-faced human baby grow into a strong-willed, flawed, talented, insufferable and absolutely lovable adult human will look at any child-rearing simulator with extreme suspicion.

As you see, development and rigorous validation of the parenting simulator will take time, and it may well be that it’s not until Annie’s first day of school that the product is available on the market. Therefore, while learning some of the parenting skills in advance would be nice and will certainly be possible in the not-so-far future, I recommend that you prepare yourself for learning them in real life, and on the job as millions of parents have done before you.

And if you find yourself lying in bed at night, wondering whether you yourself will belong to the good or the bad group of parenting, you may get some consolation from the fact that every parent before you has been suffering degrees of uncertainty on the topic. I promise, you will be just fine!

Do you have a question for Aunt Sophie? Send it to

The content of this column is purely fictional; any connections to actual people or events are purely coincidental.

Stefan Tuchschmid, Co-CEO

Raimundo Sierra, Co-CEO

P.S.: For prompt updates you may always visit our Facebook or LinkedIn profile, follow the conversations on Twitter, check out movies of virtual reality procedures on Youtube or visit our Website for the latest news. Stay tuned!
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