Bill Frist, Contributor
I’ve got one big idea that can change your health. But first some history.
Heart transplants were once rare.
When I was training to be a heart transplant surgeon at Stanford, at every opportunity I would go to the operating room to observe and study my mentor (and the “father of heart transplantation”) Dr. Norm Shumway masterfully cut out a fatally diseased heart and replace it with a strong healthy one, always amazed at that miraculous moment when it sprung back to life. Observing these rare operations was invaluable to me as a trainee, but nothing compared to that first experience of actually holding the scalpel in my own hand, making the initial, fateful incision, and deciding precisely where to place each stitch. Over time, I created the muscle memory that would allow me to safely perform heart transplants well over a hundred times in the years ahead.
It was the timeworn, slightly hyperbolic, surgical mantra, “See one, do one, teach one.” It was the best we had at the time. But is that really the best, or safest, way to learn? Or do patients deserve more?
Experience matters. Things we actually experience stay with us in a way that things we are simply told, taught, or observe do not. Today, we have myriad different mediums for teaching—images, videos, tablets—but until recently none that our brain cognitively believed to be actually happening to us. We could differentiate “real” from “virtual.” But the latest advances in virtual reality are radically changing that. The technological gap between virtual and real is rapidly diminishing.
As virtual reality (VR) software becomes more sophisticated, users are able to interact with the environment through multiple senses. Our brains and bodies begin to experience the virtual environment as real.
Read more on Forbes.com.
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