Purpose: To develop and evaluate an education platform for brachytherapy using immersive video technologies.
Methods: Immersive VR video technology uses a single 360-degree camera to record the entire 4-Pi space around the camera. When played back on supported devices, viewers can freely look around using their head movement when viewing on a head-mounted display or mouse when on computers. In this study, we compared cameras with different resolutions and features such as high-dynamic range videos. Different content delivery platforms were also compared. Finally, a gynecological brachytherapy immersive video simulation was delivered using VR headset to 14 medical residents. Enhancement of training outcomes was evaluated based on pre- and post-simulation surveys.
Results: Consumer-grade VR cameras are preferred over professional VR cameras because of their smaller size and ease of use, which reduces interference with operating-room workflow and the chance of operator-related errors during video acquisition. If surgical light is used during procedure, it is important to use cameras capable of recording high-dynamic-range video. A minimal of 5.7k (5760x2880 pixels) resolution is required for brachytherapy immersive simulation due to the need to visualize small instruments such as applicator/needles, and ultrasound images/videos. 8k (7680x3840 pixels) resolution enhanced the visibility of small instruments and ultrasound but is not currently supported on mobile devices or headsets. VR brachytherapy training is best delivered using VR headset because it creates an immersive experience and reduce distractions. Applying VR simulation to medical residents increased their self-assessed scores in confidence, applicator assembling skills, insertion skills, and comfort with independent procedure from 1.5 to above 3 (p<0.001).
Conclusion: For creating VR video for brachytherapy education, a small camera with ≥5.7k resolution and high-dynamic-range video should be used. Preliminary results demonstrated substantially enhanced training outcome when VR simulation is used with high degrees of usability, engagement, and enjoyability.
Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: This study is partially supported by McCabe Foundation and American Brachytherapy Society