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France preparing for national simulation curriculum in arthroscopy

December 07, 2017
Since 1 November 2017, every surgical resident in France is supposed to get training on a simulator. To determine the best approach for arthroscopy, the French College of Orthopedic Surgery (CFCOT) is conducting a nationwide study in arthroscopic training methods in collaboration with the Francophone Society of Arthroscopy (SFA) and VirtaMed. The study, involving 116 new orthopedic residents, will be launched at the SFA Congress in Marseille on 7–9 December 2017.

In November 2016, the French Parliament passed a reform that shortened the time of residency and set maximum weekly work hours for residents across disciplines. The reform also introduced a mandate to provide all surgical residents with simulation training. Virtual reality simulators, such as the VirtaMed ArthroS™, will accelerate the learning curves and thus help maintain the quality of training within the new constraints.

France is the first country in the world to set such an ambitious target for residents in the beginning of their specialization. Medical societies looking to standardize surgical training welcome the mandate—their shared goal is to improve patient safety by ensuring all doctors have high, measurable standards and enough rest before treating patients.

The study by CFCOT and SFA, supported by VirtaMed, aims to help develop an effective proficiency- and simulation-based curriculum for arthroscopic residency. The study will measure the technical skills gained through different training curricula, and the residents participating in the study will be divided into two groups. One group will follow a simulation-based training curriculum using the VirtaMed ArthroS™ FAST, Knee, and Shoulder modules, whereas the control group will focus on more traditional training methods such as cadavers or box trainers, or only utilize videos, e-learning, or theoretical lessons. The first assessment round will happen in December 2017 in Marseille, Lyon, Paris, Bordeaux, Amiens, Nancy, and Rennes; both groups will be tested and assessed again after six months of training.

“I am looking forward to leading this pioneer study”, says Paul Walbron, resident at Hôpitaux de Nancy Chirurgie Orthopédique et Traumatologique, who is running the nationwide study with the support of the CFCOT president, Prof. Hervé Thomazeau and the SFA president, Prof. François Sirveaux. “We are happy to see France take the initiative in embracing technological development and patient safety in medical training”, states Dr. Martina Vitz, VirtaMed Education Development Manager. VirtaMed supports the study by helping with the training arrangements and by providing the high-fidelity, virtual reality ArthroS™ simulators.

Medical training simulators

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Dr. Martina Vitz, Paul Walbron, and Isabel Gauggel
The VirtaMed ArthroS™ arthroscopy simulator.