The Future of Immersive Technology in Global Surgery Education

The second wave of immersive reality technology is required that enhances and exploits current applications, empirical evidence and worldwide interest. If this is successful, low- and middle-income countries will have improved access, less costs and reduced practical limitations. Affordability, availability, accessibility and appropriateness are determinates, and help from several innovative areas can achieve these targets. Artificial intelligence will allow autonomous support of trainees to accelerate their skills when interacting on mobile applications, as deep learning algorithms will generate models that identify data and patterns within them and provide feedback much like a human educator. Future immersive content needs to be high quality, tailored to the learners’ needs and created with minimal time and expenses. The co-creation process involves the integration of learners into the entire development process and a single learning goal can be identified that will have high reusability to surgical students. Sustainability of the material is ensured in the design stage leading to increased cost-effectiveness benefits. One framework has a proven high impact on the co-design of healthcare resources and is discussed. The connectivity of future immersive technology resources has been a major obstacle between regions in their uptake. A handful of collaboration platforms have been created that can deliver immersive content and experiences; the spearhead in this area will be from augmented reality and telesurgery. Opportunity for powerful, large-scale data culture via blockchain collaboration will be an emerging theme that will also drive towards affordability, availability, accessibility and appropriateness in the future global landscape of immersive technology in surgical education.

The Importance of Collaboration in Global Neurosurgery

Collaboration, the kind built upon mutual respect, trust, and a shared vision, is the only reasonable approach to the immense challenges faced by the field of global neurosurgery. We must develop collaborations that foster the free flow of knowledge and resources to ensure that all patients, regardless of geographic location, have access to timely, safe, affordable, and effective neurosurgical care. Developing global, multi-institutional collaborations requires that all parties confront the realities of racism, colonialism, paternalism, and many other isms along with the true magnitude of the problem. Over the past two decades, our Duke Global Neurosurgery and Neurology (DGNN) team has strived to live up to these ideals. We are constantly adapting and evolving our collaborative approach.

DGNN’s initial collaborative work brought together Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Mulago National Referral Hospital, and Duke Health to provide direct neurosurgical care to patients in Uganda. Our shared principles of twinning guided our care delivery (pairing team members for bilateral knowledge exchange), training (developing new neurosurgeons in Uganda), and technology (providing the necessary equipment to perform neurosurgery) (1). This approach has led to 25 neurosurgery camps, over 500 total camp operations, over 5 tons of donated medical equipment and consumables, the establishment of neurosurgery residency programs, three neurosurgery units, and has more than tripled the number of neurosurgeons in Uganda, to date (2,3). Building, maintaining, and strengthening trust is the most important factor that underpins our collaboration’s success. Trust has been built through open and honest conversations, shared decision-making responsibilities, consistency over the years, and the shared vision of improving access to neurosurgery for all Ugandans.

Opportunities and challenges for thoracic surgery collaborations in China: a commentary.

Through a unique combination of factors-including a huge population, rapid social development, and concentration of resources in its mega-cities-China is witnessing phenomenal developments in the field of thoracic surgery. Ultra-high-volume centers are emerging that provide fantastic new opportunities for surgical training and clinical research to surgeons in China and partners from other countries. However, there are also particular shortcomings that are limiting clinical and academic developments. To realize the potential and reap the rewards, the challenges posed by these limitations must be overcome. Thoracic surgeons from Europe may be particularly well-placed to achieve this through multi-dimensional exchanges with their Chinese counterparts.