Medical education is a discipline where science, practice and art meet to with one common goal - to improve the quality of life of patients and save lives. Since Socrates and Galen’s time, medical professionals have gathered together to interact and share their knowledge and practical experience to become better health professionals. Today, the Social Web has changed how humans interact, think, learn and simulate. Unfortunately however, medical training remains dispersed, often varying significantly even within the same geographical regions.
Second Life (SL) is the most prevalent 3-D virtual reality world on the Internet. With over 18 million users and a resident population that logged 124 million user hours during Q1 2009, SL has applications that extend from virtual reality to real-life, particularly in the field of medical education. The Ann Myers Medical Centre (AMMC) is a virtual hospital and collaborating centre founded by Dr. Ann Buchanan to explore real life health professional training using 3-D worlds. Constructed in 2006, the AMMC allows medical personnel from around the world to present clinical cases, interact, comment on novel emerging public health problems (i.e. swine flu) and perform real-life clinical teaching in the form of presentations, medical simulations or grand rounds -all foundations of interdisciplinary medical training.
Using an audience response system, presenters and audience members will collectively explore perceptions and attitudes toward virtual-reality medical training, including challenges and barriers. Presenters will also provide a live tour and simulation of a typical “grand rounds teaching session" with the virtual attendance of medical professionals from around the globe.