Immersive Virtual Reality in Basic Point-of-Care Ultrasound Training: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Nanna L. Andersen*, Rune O. Jensen, Lars Konge, Christian B. Laursen, Casper Falster, Niels Jacobsen, Mohammad T. Elhakim, Jonas A. Bojsen, Minna Riishede, Maja L. Fransen, Benjamin S.B. Rasmussen, Stefan Posth, Linus Sant, Ole Graumann

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study was aimed at comparing the learning efficacy of a traditional instructor-led lesson with that of a completely virtual, self-directed lesson in immersive virtual reality (IVR) in teaching basic point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) skills. We conducted a blinded, non-inferiority, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial in which final-year medical students were randomized to an instructor-led (n = 53) or IVR (n = 51) lesson. Participants' learning efficacy was evaluated by blinded assessors, who rated each participant's performance using the Objective Structured Assessment of Ultrasound Skills (OSAUS) assessment tool.The mean total scores for participants were 11.0 points (95% confidence interval: 9.8-12.2) for the instructor-led lesson and 10.3 points (95% confidence interval: 9.0-11.5) for the IVR lesson. No significant differences were observed between the groups with respect to total score (p = 0.36) or subgroup objectives of the OSAUS score (p = 0.34 for familiarity, p = 0.45 for image optimization, p = 0.96 for systematic approach and p = 0.07 for interpretation). Maintenance costs for both courses were estimated at 400 euros each. Startup costs for the instructor-led course were estimated 16 times higher than those for the IVR course. The learning efficacy of an instructor-led lesson on basic US did not differ significantly from that of a self-directed lesson in IVR, as assessed using the OSAUS. The results suggest that IVR could be an equivalent alternative to instructor-led lessons in future basic US courses, but further research is warranted to clarify the role of IVR in PoCUS courses.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltrasound in Medicine & Biology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)178-185
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Medical students
  • Ultrasound education
  • Clinical Competence
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Humans
  • Students, Medical
  • Virtual Reality


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