On 20 January 2014 the EC showcased in its website the RASimAs project (Regional Anaesthesia Simulator and Assistant), a European research project funded with €3.3 million in the 7th Framework Program, aiming at providing a virtual reality simulator and assistant to doctors performing regional anaesthesia by developing the patient-specific Virtual Physiological Human models.
The project started on 1 November 2013 and has a duration of 36 month. 14 partners from 11 European countries including hospitals, universities and companies collaborate in this project. The objective is to gather European experts from very diverse fields, from medical doctors specialised in anaesthesia, scientists specialised in medical imaging, computer science or virtual reality and industrials specialised in medical devices, in order to develop a virtual reality simulator (RASim, a patient-specific Regional Anaesthesia Simulator enhanced with ultrasound guidance) that will allow medical doctors to train extensively on virtual patients and to be assisted by additional patient-specific information (RAAs, a Regional Anaesthesia Assistant) during the procedure.
The benefits in terms of safer regional anaesthesia for the patient and reduced costs for the society were highlighted by the European Commission.
RASimAs will use augmented reality and visio-haptics and combine general virtual models with patient-specific data available from diagnostics to assist the anaesthesiologists during the procedure. It focus on incorporating other nerve blocks, supporting ultrasound visualization, providing true haptic feedback, and support training on patient specific data in the VR-based RA simulator.
Its added value is that it can make additional use of patient-specific data obtained during the diagnostic or therapeutic phase without additional costs, resulting in a more accurate VPH models.
Not only it is noteworthy the significant investment made by the Commission on this project, that represents on step further in the establishment of virtual modelling, but also the fact that it specifically showcases this project, which shows that the efforts are delivering tangible results and this kind of initiatives are higher on the agenda.