Background Cost-effective methods to facilitate practical medical education are in high demand and the “mixed-reality” (MR) technology seems suitable to provide students with instructions when learning a new practical task. To evaluate a step-by-step mixed reality (MR) guidance system for instructing a practical medical procedure, we conducted a randomized, single-blinded prospective trial on medical students learning bladder catheter placement.
Methods We enrolled 164 medical students. Students were randomized into 2 groups and received instructions on how to perform bladder catheter placement on a male catheterization training model. One group (107 students) were given their instructions by an instructor, while the other group (57 students) were instructed via an MR guidance system using a Microsoft HoloLens. Both groups did hands on training. A standardized questionnaire covering previous knowledge, interest in modern technologies and a self-evaluation was filled out. In addition, students were asked to evaluate the system’s usability. We assessed both groups’s learning outcome via a standardized OSCE (objective structured clinical examination).
Results Our evaluation of the learning outcome revealed an average point value of 19.96?±?2,42 for the control group and 21.49?±?2.27 for the MR group - the MR group’s result was significantly better (p?=?0.00). The self-evaluations revealed no difference between groups, however, the control group gave higher ratings when evaluating the quality of instructions. The MR system’s assessment showed less usability, with a cumulative SUS (system usability scale) score of 56.6 (lower half) as well as a cumulative score of 24.2?±?7.3 (n?=?52) out of 100 in the NASA task load index.
Conclusions MR is a promising tool for instructing practical skills, and has the potential to enable superior learning outcomes. Advances in MR technology are necessary to improve the usability of current systems.
Trial registration German Clinical Trial Register ID: DRKS00013186