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Charcot’s Room Pilot VR MedEd Tool

Using Virtual Reality to Create deeper learning experience’s for student neurologists to develop their diagnosis skills with real patient cases


Jean-Martin Charcot, is often referred to as the father of neurology and in fact, the painting “A Clinical Lesson at the Salpêtrière” depicting Charcot performing hypnosis on a patient in his rooms, adorns many of today’s neurologist’s walls.

Imagine the impact of being a neurologist today and being able to enter that same room of Charcot’s to undertake a patient examination. Or Imagine being a 21st century neurologist and having the chance to travel back in time to diagnose a patient in that very same room as Charcot.  

Our studio took much pride and joy in recreating Charcot’s room in the finest detail in Virtual Reality to create this very experience with the pilot education tool ‘Charcot’s Room’.


Charcot’s Room is designed to give student neurologists the opportunity to practice their diagnosis skills by going through their process of questioning with an avatar patient.

It’s a completely immersive educational experience.  When you put the VR headset on you have entered Charcot’s 17th century room.  You can move anywhere in the room and get up close to look at whatever you would like to.  You decide to teleport to his library of books, then to his desk where you read a diary note.  You then take a seat in front of a patient ‘John’ who is sitting waiting for you.

John is an avatar and as such is not real, but the medical data about his illness is real, it belongs to an anonymous real patient.  You say, “Hi John, how are you feeling?” and John responds, “I’ve been feeling a bit dizzy…”.

When you put the VR headset on you have entered Charcot’s 17th century room.


Using voice recognition technology you are able to ask John a series of questions and using John’s responses, work toward diagnosing his illness.  At any time, you can request John’s blood test results or to see his MRI scans or even choose to make a diagnosis.

Developed in partnership with Dr John Parratt and Novartis, Charcot’s Room, provides a sample of the type of learning experience student doctors could have to test their knowledge and diagnosis approach.


We knew we had engagement when the neurologists who went through the process of diagnosis with John inside Charcot’s Room, started to discuss and debate his diagnosis once they came out of the virtual learning experience.

The feedback was extremely positive and one of support for educating student doctors using this approach.

We are so excited by the opportunities that our healthcare professionals and the universities can see for the future development of Charcot’s Room and its ability to enhance the education experience for student doctors.

Dr Stephane Verhaeghe, MD MSc, Franchise Medical Manager Neuroscience, Novartis Australia

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