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Balgrist University Hospital, Switzerland

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Balgrist University Hospital wants to provide thorough hands-on medical training for new practitioners without compromising patient experience and safety. This is why they helped us develop the VirtaMed ArthroS™ orthopedics simulator.

Video interview

Prof. Dr. med. Christian Gerber, M.D.

We are not a hospital where patients are practiced on – we are a hospital where patients are treated right.

Balgrist University Hospital, founded in 1912, is an internationally recognized specialist in assessing, treating and following up on all types of musculoskeletal injuries. Furthermore, the hospital is part of the University of Zurich and thus focuses heavily on teaching, alongside with research. Balgrist educates doctors and medical staff in the domains of orthopedics, paraplegiology, rheumatology, anesthesiology, radiology and chiropractic medicine.

Balgrist has high standards for patient safety and the quality of care as well as the level of medical education. "We do not want any patient to suffer from surgeons training", points out Prof. Dr. med. Christian Gerber, M.D., Medical Director and Chief Consultant in Orthopaedics at Balgrist. "We are not a hospital where patients are practiced on – we are a hospital where patients are treated right".

Prof. Gerber is one of VirtaMed's advisers, and an invaluable help in creating the ArthroS™ simulator. As VirtaMed decided to expand from endoscopic simulation to arthroscopy, specialists at Balgrist offered their medical expertise in developing and testing the simulator. This was an important success factor and VirtaMed is very proud to have been able to work with this leading medical education center. After thorough feedback from the experts, resulting in several prototypes and iterations, the simulator reached the desired high level of realism, accuracy and usability. “The quality of VirtaMed ArthroS™ simulator is now very good”, agrees Prof. Gerber.

Balgrist has a VirtaMed ArthroS™ with knee, shoulder and FAST modules, and the simulator is in heavy use. Balgrist has a very structured approach to using the device as part of their curriculum, and the hospital has designed its own custom courses on the simulator. Prof. Gerber is a strong advocate of simulation training, and he wants residents to pass all these courses before entering the operating room for the first time. Prof. Gerber hopes to eventually conduct qualifying examinations on the simulator: “The Swiss Orthopedic Association already uses the simulator as examination tool”, he points out.

“The correlation between simulation results and clinical performance has been proven many times”, Prof. Gerber notes. “Trainees who practiced on the simulator clearly proceed with more confidence and less hesitation, and they waste less time during procedures.” All in all, Prof. Gerber finds training on a VirtaMed surgical simulator well worth the investment. Furthermore, VirtaMed is happy that Balgrist has decided to continue collaborating with VirtaMed on future development projects.