13 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The use of Virtual Reality (VR) in health professions education has increased dramatically in recent years, yet there is limited evidence of its impact on educational outcomes. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of VR anatomy instruction on the ultrasound competency of novice learners participating in a ultrasonography workshop. Method We designed a VR-enhanced ultrasonography training program and utilized a plane transection tool to interact with a three-dimensional (3D) VR model of the human body which facilitated the 3D conceptualization of the spatial relationship of anatomical structures, leading to faster and better development of ultrasonographic competency. This was a randomized control study which enrolled third-year medical students (n = 101) without previous exposure to formal or informal ultrasonography training. The participants were randomly divided into an intervention and control group. We assessed participants' competency through ultrasound performance stations on live subjects, we also measured anatomical and ultrasound image identification ability using multiple choice tests. Result Participants in the intervention group (median = 16; interquartile 13 to 19) had significantly higher scores in ultrasonography task performance tests than the control group (median = 10; interquartile 7 to 14; Mann-Whitney U = 595; P < 0.01). In sub-group analysis, the intervention group performed significantly better in the six out of ten ultrasound tasks. Participants in the intervention group also had greater improvement in ultrasonographic image identification MCQ tests than the control group (Mann-Whitney U = 914; P < 0.05). Conclusion This study suggests that VR-enhanced anatomical training could be of significant benefit in ultrasonography training by promoting a better understanding of the spatial relationships of anatomical structures and the development of early psychomotor skills transferable to the handling of ultrasonographic probes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242731
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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