OPEN Research Support

Undergraduate student
Maja Emilie Verland
Research and Innovation Unit of Research and Innovation Unit of Radiology, Odense University Hospital, Odense University Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Open
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.09.2022  
Slut 01.09.2023  

Using virtual reality to verify competence in focused abdominal ultrasound

Short summary

An increasing demand for health care professionals trained in the use of ultrasound means an increasing demand for assessment and validation of ultrasound competencies. Immersive virtual reality is a promising ultrasound training and testing method. The primary aim of this study is to develop a test with validity evidence for abdominal diagnostic ultrasound in virtual reality and asses if it is possible to differentiate between different levels of abdominal point of care ultrasound competencies.


The purpose of this study is to create a validated test in ultrasound (US) examination of the abdomen using virtual reality (VR). Point of care ultrasound (POCUS) of the abdomen plays an increasingly important role in the assessment of patients with acute and chronic abdominal pain. Performed correctly and in combination with clinical examination, POCUS has been shown to improve early diagnostics of several conditions, as well as serving as a useful procedural and screening tool.

Abdominal POCUS is a common diagnostic procedure, often performed by doctors with no or limited background in radiology. With easier access to and increased usage of US, there will be an increasing demand for education, training and testing. Basic knowledge on US physics and knobology, recognizing indications, interpretating findings and understanding strengths as well as limitations of US are all important when acquiring and testing competences in abdominal POCUS.

Simulation based training (SBT) is a well-known way around the disadvantages to supervised learning. It serves as a safe, easily accessible introduction to clinical procedures, usually practiced on a phantom in an environment designed for the purpose of learning or testing. Immersive VR is a fairly new simulation modality allowing the participant to enter a 3D, interactive learning environment using a head-mounted display. In this project, we will investigate whether skills in abdominal POCUS can be tested in VR. The partitioner will enter a computer-simulated reality, but the test will be based on US cases and videos taken from real life.

Description of the cohort

Medical doctors and medical master students with varying US and abdominal POCUS experience will be recruited as test participants. They will be categorized into three study groups, based on their abdominal POCUS experience and minimum training requirements. These groups will be defined based on the European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) ultrasound guidelines.

Data and biological material

The participants' abdominal POCUS competencies will be evaluated by a score based on the OSAUS score. The test will be developed in collaboration with VR-software specialists and clinical experts in abdominal POCUS and medical education. The test is based on 4 cases relevant to abdominal POCUS competencies.

Collaborating researchers and departments

Research and Innovation Unit of Radiology

  • Ole Graumann
  • Pia Iben Pietersen
  • Sarah Stougaard

Regional center for Technical Simulation

  • Anders Bo Nielsen

Department of Emergency Medicine, OUH, Denmark

  • Stefan Posth

Denmark and Copenhagen Academy for Medical Education and Simulation (CAMES)

  • Lars Konge