01/09/2020 Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1136/bmjstel-2018-000420 SemanticScholar ID: 210549840 MAG: 2983096591

Early assessment with a virtual reality haptic simulator predicts performance in clinical practice

Publication Summary

Background Prediction of clinical training aptitude in medicine and dentistry is largely driven by measures of a student’s intellectual capabilities. The measurement of sensorimotor ability has lagged behind, despite being a key constraint for safe and efficient practice in procedure-based medical specialties. Virtual reality (VR) haptic simulators, systems able to provide objective measures of sensorimotor performance, are beginning to establish their utility in facilitating sensorimotor skill acquisition, and it is possible that they may also inform the prediction of clinical performance. Methods A retrospective cohort study examined the relationship between student performance on a haptic VR simulator in the second year of undergraduate dental study with subsequent clinic performance involving patients 2 years later. The predictive ability was tested against a phantom-head crown test (a traditional preclinical dental assessment, in the third year of study). Results VR scores averaged across the year explained 14% of variance in clinic performance, while the traditional test explained 5%. Students who scored highly on this averaged measure were ~10 times more likely to be high performers in the clinical crown test. Exploratory analysis indicated that single-trial VR scores did not correlate with real-world performance, but the relationship was statistically significant and strongest in the first half of the year and weakened over time. Conclusions The data demonstrate the potential of a VR haptic simulator to predict clinical performance and open up the possibility of taking a data-driven approach to identifying individuals who could benefit from support in the early stages of training.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Faisal Mushtaq

Dr. Faisal Mushtaq

University of Leeds - Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience

Avatar Image for Mark Mon-Williams

Prof. Mark Mon-Williams

University of Leeds - Chair in Cognitive Psychology

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