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Stories Of Hope

Posted on May 14, 2019

Learning Faster and Reducing Risks: HelpMeSee Certified First Instructors for Simulation-based Ophthalmic Surgical Training in China

How long does it take for residents to transform the knowledge they learned in the classroom  to surgical skills applied in the operating room?  According to the traditional training model, it takes at least 3 to 6 months of lab training and mentoring surgeries, followed by several years of further skill refinement.  However, with the assistance of HelpMeSee’s simulation-based ophthalmic surgery training system, the process will be accelerated significantly. Only a few days ago, Wenzhou Medical University’s (WMU) Affiliated Eye Hospital’s School of Ophthalmology and Optometry Simulation Training Center Head Dr. Xu Xu and Dr. Paul Zhao passed HelpMeSee’s instructor qualification for the simulation-based ophthalmic surgical training program, becoming the first set of HelpMeSee certified advanced instructors in China.

According to statistics, about 190 million people of the world’s population experience unnecessary suffering due to cataract-induced blindness or visual impairment. China alone has over 2.5 million patients with cataract blindness.  In contrast, the current number of physicians performing cataract surgery is low with there being a lack of sound standardized residents training. In order to equip doctors with the necessary skills to restore patients’ sight, HelpMeSee, an international blindness prevention NGO, made it its mission to create an eye surgery simulator and develop a standardized training system. The system applies the same technology used in flight simulation creating life-like surgery scenarios in MSICS surgery and other procedures.

In July 2018, “HelpMeSee Simulation-Based Training Research Partnership” project officially settled in The Simulation Training Center of Wenzhou Eye Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, with the shipping of two eye surgery simulators and their successful installation. Wenzhou Medical University’s Affiliated Eye Hospital, School of Ophthalmology and Optometry, is one of the first state-level ophthalmology residency training bases in China integrating medical treatment, medical education and scientific research with a faculty rich in clinical and teaching experience. “In the past, a doctor can at most train one or two students over a long learning cycle.” Dr. Xu Xu, Head of the Simulation Training Center explained. The use of high fidelity  simulation-based surgical training system allows students to repeatedly practice not only with standardized and systematic courses but also through accurate data analysis and targeted guidance enabling students to master more surgical skills quickly.

According to statistics, about 190 million people of the world’s population experience unnecessary suffering due to cataract-induced blindness or visual impairment. China alone has over 2.5 million patients with cataract blindness.  In contrast, the current number of physicians performing cataract surgery is low with there being a lack of sound standardized residents training. In order to equip doctors with the necessary skills to restore patients’ sight, HelpMeSee, an international blindness prevention NGO, made it its mission to create an eye surgery simulator and develop a standardized training system. The system applies the same technology used in flight simulation creating life-like surgery scenarios in MSICS surgery and other procedures.

In July 2018, “HelpMeSee Simulation-Based Training Research Partnership” project officially settled in The Simulation Training Center of Wenzhou Eye Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, with the shipping of two eye surgery simulators and their successful installation. Wenzhou Medical University’s Affiliated Eye Hospital, School of Ophthalmology and Optometry, is one of the first state-level ophthalmology residency training bases in China integrating medical treatment, medical education and scientific research with a faculty rich in clinical and teaching experience. “In the past, a doctor can at most train one or two students over a long learning cycle.” Dr. Xu Xu, Head of the Simulation Training Center explained. The use of high fidelity  simulation-based surgical training system allows students to repeatedly practice not only with standardized and systematic courses but also through accurate data analysis and targeted guidance enabling students to master more surgical skills quickly.

The official opening of the simulation training center will need highly-trained qualified instructors in addition to the construction of hardware facilities.  After taking 6 weeks of full-time training and nearly a month of follow-up practice, the Center’s Doctors, Xu Xu and Paul Zhao passed series of assessments marking the official beginning of simulator training and TCC training curriculums by HelpMeSee’s Chief of Training Operations, Mr. Jon Pollack. “This is yet another innovation in our teaching model that will not only help produce high-quality surgeons on a large scale but also minimize patient’s risk.” Professor Qu Jia, Dean of WMU’s Eye hospital, commented. In the future, the Eye Hospital will stand together with HelpMeSee to push forward simulation-based ophthalmic surgery training. They will continue improving its system and explore new high-quality and efficient surgical training methods and evaluation standards applied for China’s current ophthalmology residency training system to rapidly increase the numbers of medical experts skilled in cataract surgery.

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