15 Jan 2021
Following its official launch in mid-2020 the LapAR™ high fidelity laparoscopic simulator has already enjoyed widespread adoption across the UK and beyond. The system, which was developed as part of an SBRI (The Small Business Research Initiative) Healthcare funded project, was designed to democratise access to high fidelity laparoscopic skills training.
Having seen the potential of the LapAR™ system prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the forward-thinking Professional Education Team at Olympus UK had already decided to adopt the technology to add value to their existing national training programmes. As the pandemic continued to cause increasing levels of disruption to traditional training courses, the teams at Olympus and Inovus decided to ‘re-write the rule book’ and use LapAR™ to deliver a revolutionary educational programme in which high fidelity laparoscopic skills training could be delivered entirely remotely.
The first ever remote Total Laparoscopic Hysterectomy course was delivered using the LapAR™ in late 2020 and was the first of many opportunities for web based surgical skills training offered by Olympus. Olympus’ expert gynaecological surgery faculty were able to teach students in locations across the UK utilising the Inovus LapAR™ trainers via video conference.
Mr Chris Hardwick, Course Director and consultant gynaecologist at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow said “Teaching surgical skills remotely was made possible with the Inovus LapAR™ trainers. The faculty was able to provide real time feedback and demonstrate techniques to learners as they practised on the vaginal vault models via a simple video conference call”.
Inovus Medical Co-founder and CTO, Jordan Van Flute, said “The impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on surgical training both in a clinical and simulated setting has highlighted the importance of LapAR™ as a critical tool for delivery of distance learning both now and in the future. It is great to see how Olympus has adapted its professional education program and leveraged LapAR™ to deliver nationwide training in the face of physical and geographical barriers caused by the pandemic.”
Olympus will continue to deliver a series of remote, high fidelity laparoscopic skills courses utilising LapAR™ throughout 2021. The courses will be across gynaecology and general surgery and offer the perfect opportunity for trainee surgeons in the UK to maintain and progress their surgical skills in the face of disruptions from COVID-19.
Head of Professional Education at Olympus UK, Kelly Stacey, said “The ability to teach Laparoscopic surgery skills remotely enables Olympus to continue to provide top level education to learners not only during this challenging time, but also facilitates our provision of a distance learning curriculum to supplement many of our Laparoscopic skills training courses. As the LapAR™ trainers can be shipped directly to course attendees, Olympus can provide cutting edge education opportunities as we are not solely dependent on learners attending a face-to-face course to provide hands on skills training.