A partnership between Johnson & Johnson Institute, Federal University of Pernambuco and Hospital das Clinicas de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, provides training for residents in minimally invasive surgery to improve patient outcomes.
A partnership between Johnson & Johnson Institute, Federal University of Pernambuco and Hospital das Clínicas de Pernambuco in Recife, Brazil, provides training for residents in minimally invasive surgery to improve patient outcomes.
Medical residents in Recife, Brazil, have a rare opportunity to hone their skills in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) using virtual reality (VR) simulators.
In 2014, Johnson & Johnson opened a training facility at Recife’s Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE) along with Hospital das Clínicas de Pernambuco. At the Johnson & Johnson Institute in Recife, residents can use VR simulators to build their proficiency in performing procedures and to reduce the potential for patient complications.
Since access to training and equipment for MIS is limited in Brazil, faculty members at Brazil’s first Johnson & Johnson Institute, open since 2010 in São Paolo, travel to teaching hospitals all over Latin America.1 During these trips, São Paulo faculty members identified an urgent need for surgical practice labs in northeastern Brazil. As a result, the Johnson & Johnson Institute opened in Recife. It is now a central surgical training facility for several highly populated, underserved cities.
Recife provides just one example of the strong demand for medical education in Latin America. According to a 2014 Harris Interactive survey of 614 health care professionals in Latin America, 95.7 percent considered it “very important” to be able to attend training programs where they can learn new products and procedures.1 In another study from the Johnson & Johnson Institute and the nonprofit Institute of the Americas, 97 percent of Latin American HCPs believed training had “high impact” or “impact” on patients’ health.2
97 percent of Latin American HCPs believed training had “high impact” or “impact” on patients’ health.
Striving for improved patient safety with surgery simulators
In addition to MIS, the resident program provides training in gynecological, cardiac and orthopaedic surgeries. The most common procedures performed at Hospital das Clínicas de Pernambuco are hernia and bariatric surgeries, as well as laparoscopic cholecystectomies to remove the gallbladder. While laparoscopic cholecystectomies are more difficult to perform than traditional open incision surgeries, they can reduce costs, length of stay and potential surgical complications.
At the Institute, residents use VR surgical simulators to practice suturing as well as instrument and camera manipulation. “Undoubtedly the part that fascinated me the most was being able to practice suturing,” said Natalia Maia, a resident at the Hospital das Clínicas de Pernambuco. “Since we cannot always practice these movements at home, I was able to better develop the tactile sensitivity and improve the movements with the laparoscopic tweezers.”
We are confident that using simulators will improve patient safety.
Adriano Pereira, another resident at the hospital, said the VR simulators provided a helpful way to practice videolaparoscopy, which is laparascopic surgery guided by a video camera. “In training, we learn to perform videolaparoscopic nodes, use staplers and their mechanisms,” Pereira said. “We improve motor skills with the exercises in the black box simulator.”
An immersive VR experience lets residents deal with real-time patient complications and cope with the stress of the OR. Prior to the Institute’s opening, surgical residents were only able to receive hands-on training during live surgery with patients.
Practicing on a virtual patient increases the safety of surgical patients in the actual OR, noted Dr. André Petribu, a digestive system surgeon and coordinator of the Nucleus of Experimental Surgery at UFPE. “We are confident that using simulators will improve patient safety,” he said. “That’s what we are aiming for.”
In fact, 97.7 percent of HCPs in a Harris Interactive study said training helps prevent errors.3
The future of practice lab training in Latin America
Since 2014, the Johnson & Johnson Institute has increased investments in medical professional education throughout Latin America, including the Recife location. For the future, Petribu sees an increased demand for time in practice labs. “Residents at UFPE are always asking for some more time to practice at the Institute,” Petribu said.
Residents are “mesmerized” by the simulators, according to Petribu. “There hasn't been any initiative like it before as far as I know in our city. They ask all the time for more time, to practice more, so they're very happy to have this opportunity.”
From mastering using medical devices in the training box simulator to developing depth sensitivity, the Institute gives residents more confidence for future work in the OR. “With each class, I was able to see growth and growing skills, which served as a stimulus to keep on improving,” said Maia.