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5 Surprising Orthopedic Industry Takeaways from AAOS 2021

June 13, 2022
4 Minute Read

Whether medical student or medical device professional, surgeon or resident, AAOS 2021 brought key insights into the surgical training space and greater orthopedic industry as a whole.

AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons) brought back in-person events with a bang in sunny San Diego last week - and it didn’t disappoint. The 2021 Annual Conference gathered many surgeons, surgeons-in-training, and medical device professionals from around the world to speak on important topics, highlight new trends, and showcase the latest medical devices and innovative technologies in the orthopedic space. We’ve rounded up five important takeaways from the event.

1. People are still hesitant to travel

Although vaccines have been available for months in the US, it was obvious that people are still hesitant to travel. Whether for health reasons or personal preference, attendee numbers still seemed low compared to previous years. It’s entirely possible that in-person events or trainings that require travel has changed for good, and that professionals will look for remote options first before considering the costs and logistics of travel.

2. Digital learning is here to stay   

With so many professionals preferring to stay close to home, digital learning is more important than ever. The demand for tools, resources and new technologies to make training accessible no matter the location was a hot topic both on the AAOS 2021 showfloor and at the Osso VR booth. Because technologies like surgical training in VR can handle many applications — from simple surgical techniques, to traditional capital equipment, to enabling technologies like robotics — and across so many areas of expertise, the tech tools available to surgeons and medical companies to train whenever, wherever will continue to democratize learning no matter where a professional is located. 

3. VR is one critical piece of the expanding digital journey puzzle

The industry is under a rapid transformation as new procedures now include innovative options such as robotics. While this is excellent news for patients, it requires advanced technology to train on advanced device solutions. Many digital options have become available to health professionals including not just VR, but AR (augmented reality), robotics and AI (artificial intelligence). The important takeaway from AAOS was that these technologies complement another and all come together as critical pieces of the digital journey puzzle.

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4. There's a definite need to help both surgeons and orthopedic device professionals train

One thing was certain from attendees at AAOS 2021, as each learning curve is unique. Many of the surgeons, trainees and orthopedic device professionals who stopped by Osso’s booth had never tried virtual reality before.  Whether a complete novice or an expert, the VR experiences were able to meet their needs, especially when combined with a virtual facilitator.  All ranges of expertise were easily able use the technology — even those advanced in their practice.

This is important for both surgeons and device professionals. For surgeons, being able to quickly adjust to a virtual procedure, work in-real time with other surgeons in collaboration and have the opportunity to practice complex techniques without a cadaver lab helped meet many people at their learning level. For device professionals, virtual reality gave them the opportunity to truly understand not just how their devices operate, but how to troubleshoot them and answer questions to surgeons during a real-life procedure.

Check it out: AAOS 2021 recap in 120 seconds

5. Solutions that scale are key

Another important need discussed at Osso’s booth again and again were digital tools that scaled for both hospitals, residency programs and medical device companies. The ability to accommodate large groups in training globally made solutions like VR medical training a step above other digital or in-person training options. In addition, localization to accommodate different languages of learners also proved important to attendees to provide inclusivity that allows for customized learning experiences in virtual environments.

Couldn’t attend AAOS 2021? It’s not too late to try surgical training in VR

AAOS 2021 is over for this year (we’re already looking forward to 2022 in Chicago!) but that doesn’t mean you missed your chance to try out virtual reality for your training needs. You can easily schedule a demo with our team to learn more about our digital training tool and assess how it fits into your organization’s learning journey.

Eleanor Jacobson
Eleanor Jacobson
Content Marketing Manager
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