HelpMeSee’s Approach to Address Global Health Crisis: Simulation-based Training
The current medical education and surgical training of ophthalmologists are long and difficult. It can take 10 years or more to train a single ophthalmologist with no assurance that they will choose to practice in the underserved areas of greatest need. In the remote rural areas and impoverished inner cities where our surgery training has taken place in Asia, South America and Africa, 18 million people are blind from cataracts. Another 100 million people suffer from vision impairment due to cataracts and, as life spans increase globally, these numbers grow every year. In many of these locations there is 1 cataract surgeon per one million people. Or none.
The shortage of well-trained surgeons is evident and the call for an effective and efficient way of training is urgent. HelpMeSee is the only organization focused on training doctors-- and in large numbers -- in the surgery procedure most suited to helping the needy blind using simulation-based technology. At the core of the HelpMeSee training program, is the high-fidelity eye surgical simulator. The HelpMeSee eye simulator provides a training platform that is highly realistic and allows trainees to practice in a safe and controlled environment.
Our approach includes a simulation-based training program that will allow rapid scaling-up of high-quality training in cataract surgery. Inspired by our founder Albert Lee Ueltschi success in simulation-based training for pilots, we are in the latter stages of development of the HelpMeSee Eye Surgery Simulator as part of an integrated learning system designed to support the training of tens of thousands of cataract surgeons.
- The ability for a surgeon to achieve a higher level of proficiency before completing the training in live surgery.
- Trainees are able to learn from their mistakes.
- Reduced risk to live patients.
- Individual tasks can be accomplished as many times as necessary until the desired level of proficiency is achieved.
- Objective performance review of each simulated surgery.
Live surgery training has inherent risk to the patients. Simulation will allow an unlimited supply of “eyes” and higher transference of skill to the trainees through repeated practice using the simulator until desired level of proficiency is achieved. HelpMeSee has proven that simulation-based training is a more effective, efficient and safer way to solve the challenge of cataract backlog.
The estimated demand is for 30,000 surgeons worldwide to cure the cataract-blind backlog and HelpMeSee can realize this goal in the foreseeable future.
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