The Virtual World of Training – Using VR to Drive Education Excellence

vr surgeon training

Filip Standaert, Vice-President of Marketing & Education Solutions, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at  Johnson & Johnson

The healthcare sector has always been an early adopter of technology, recognising its valuable role in improving patient safety, experiences and outcomes. Today, insight-driven surgical solutions are being developed and delivered into the hands of clinicians at a swifter rate than ever before. Accordingly, medical technology companies have not only a role, but a responsibility to help drive excellence in clinician training in the 21st century.

I believe that one of the most interesting and innovative areas of healthcare today – where technology can add value and improve outcomes – exists before a clinician even reaches the operating room (OR). It’s here that technology such as virtual reality (VR) proves itself to be a crucial vehicle to maximize clinician capabilities through training and development.

When it comes to delivering education, VR data truly speaks for itself. A study conducted in 2017 with the first Johnson & Johnson VR education module found that 80 percent of 107 interviewed orthopaedic surgeons would like to use VR frequently for training, and 90 percent would recommend VR training to their peers.[1] VR enables surgeons to train in a fully immersive virtual OR environment that is safe and provides them with flexibility, repeatability and direct feedback to enhance technical skills.

But VR training is not just limited to surgeons. In-service training for nurses is an area that has historically seen little investment. VR may prove a powerful system to address nurse’s training needs, helping to build a more confident, multi-disciplinary OR team, and ultimately delivering better results for patients.

Education and innovation is built into the foundations of Johnson & Johnson’s 132-year heritage, one that has always adopted a people-focused approach that goes beyond products. Using our size, reach and resources to enhance human health and outcomes, I’m delighted that our total professional education offering – the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Institute – will deliver VR training from this summer as part of its broad spectrum of education options. In EMEA, the technology is available at the J&J Institute site in Hamburg with 50 VR systems already deployed worldwide.

As an innovation-driven company, this isn’t the first time J&J has used VR. For over four years now our J&J Institute in Recife, Brazil, has trained residents in minimally invasive surgery using VR simulators. This training has helped to build proficiency in performing procedures, reducing the potential for patient complications.

VR-based training also has positive implications for value-based healthcare with the potential to eliminate travel costs and save time. Furthermore, across the EMEA region and beyond, the J&J Institute provides access to education that’s focused on improving outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and reducing total costs. Currently, J&J helps meet the evolving training needs of 27,000 EMEA-based healthcare professionals each year in more than 20 medical and surgical specialties. Worldwide, we educate the equivalent of nearly one surgeon for every four ORs.

I have no doubt that VR training has an important role in the future of professional education, and I’m excited to see a world where technology, delivered together with exceptional training and education, supports the ever-improving standards of healthcare.


For more information about the J&J Institute VR training program for surgeons and nurses visit:


[1] Beke, Libi. “Exploring surgeon's acceptance of Virtual Reality headset for training.” 2017.