MIST constitutes an easy-to-use but advanced computer-based system designed to teach and assess minimally invasive surgical skills. The low-cost PC-based system has been validated via extensive clinical trials at leading hospitals and educational facilities. Over 125 MIST systems are in use at 70 medical institutions all over the world including Harvard; Penn State; Emory University; Washington State University; Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London; Queen's University of Belfast; and the North of England Wolfson Centre for Minimally Invasive Therapy, Manchester, United Kingdom.
The MIST system integrates two standard laparoscopic instruments with a personal computer. A colour monitor displays the movement of the surgical instruments in real time 3D graphics that were created by Virtual Presence's London-based medical software group. The 3D graphics offer an abstracted representation of the abdominal cavity in the form of some simple geometric shapes. This enables students to develop the key psychomotor skills which are essential for proficient surgical procedures. Trainees are guided through a series of six exercises of progressive complexity which imitate techniques employed in laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Using FrameSET, the Framework for Simulation, Education & Training, a training management programme developed by Virtual Presence, medical education administrators can adapt the training programmes to the needs of the individual trainees and review, compare and analyse the performance of individuals and groups in a training programme. According to John Hough, Managing Director of Virtual Presence Ltd., the company is very pleased that Johnson & Johnson has elected to expand the deployment of its MIST and FrameSET products. "Their Endo-Surgery training programme is among the best in the world, and the fact that they embrace our technology is both industry-leading and visionary", he stated.
Hough also added that developing the complex skills necessary for minimally invasive surgery can create a major challenge for modern surgical training programmes. Virtual Presence's systems have been extremely successful in improving the surgical skills, increasing the training efficiency, simplifying the assessment and providing substantial cost savings to a growing list of international medical clients, as Mr. Hough commented.
Virtual Presence, a wholly owned subsidiary of MUSE Technologies Inc., is a leader in providing interactive 3D computer-based solutions to the medical, manufacturing and defence industries. From offices in London, Manchester and Paris, the company works with customers like Johnson & Johnson, British Aerospace, GEC Marconi, Fluor Daniel, Proctor & Gamble, and British Telecom. More news on Virtual Medical Worlds Community partner, Virtual Presence Ltd., is provided in the VMW March 2000 article Guidant to order Interventional Cardiology Training Simulator from Virtual Presence.