Project 10: Full-scale surgical teamwork training through augmented-reality simulation: Clinical implementation and effectiveness for provider and patient care performance

Recruiting organization: Institute for Patient Safety (IfPS), Bonn University Hospital, Germany,

Supervisor: Prof. Matthias Weigl

Doctoral Candidate: Kathrin Adamietz

Secondments: Medability GmbH, Munich (2 Months); FH Nordwestschweiz (2 Months)

Summary: Virtual- and augmented-reality technologies offer great potential for skill training of junior surgeons. Our project addresses challenges associated with utilization and implementation of VR/AR-based training technology in surgical practice with particular focus to spine surgery. We plan to (1) Investigate VR/AR-based training as training technology in training of surgeons technical as well as non-technical skills; (2) identify implementation strategies of team training by means of VR/AR based technologies and simulators in spine surgery; (3) define measures for assessment and training of situation awareness and cognitive skills in multi-disciplinary OR teamwork; (4) and to explore consequences for provider and patient outcomes in delivery of surgical care in spine surgery. 


Surgical teamwork is essential for efficient surgical care as well as safeguarding patient outcomes. To facilitate surgical training and promote teaching, virtual as well as augmented-reality simulation has been proposed as a promising and viable avenue to enhance learning in surgery. Nonetheless, current training technologies and VR-developments in the field of surgical simulation face various challenges if they are implemented into real-world clinical practice. Most observable adoption barriers include also implementation challenges into every surgical work practices as well as limitations in effectiveness for team performance and patient care outcomes.


We therefore seek to investigate the application, adoption, and implementation of a full-scale surgical teamwork training through augmented-reality simulation in surgical practice. We want to study the process of clinical implementation and test for effectiveness for provider and patient care performance.

Institution and our research team at IfPS

The PHD position will be in the Institute for Patient Safety (IfPS) at the University Hospital and Medical Faculty at University of Bonn University (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn), Germany (Head Prof. Dr. Matthias Weigl). At IfPS, various scientific projects investigate the role of digital transformation and technology use in clinical care with particular attention to hospital care systems, provider performance, and patient care outcomes. International collaborations are established within a network of academic partners.

The PHD position will also work with local collaborators from clinics as well as industry partners. Interdisciplinary collaboration with various healthcare specialties is required. Secondments are planned with a collaborating simulator-development company as well as with academic collaborators. The Bonn International Graduate School (BIGS) offers various trainings and seminars during the 3-year PHD period.


  • Co-design, conduct, and analyse different empirical studies on the AR-simulation approach and its utilization in the surgical clinic
  • Project management and coordination activities with various clinical collaborators as well as cooperating scientific partners
  • Data collection in clinical settings (i.e., simulation as well as real-world surgical facilities)
  • Publications, written and oral presentation of findings for national and international audiences
  • Participation in the network and EU-wide training activities of Tools4Teams
  • Course work as required by the local Graduate School (BIGS)