Free VR medical training is helping to bring retired healthcare workers back into service.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has many hospitals in desperate need of trained professionals to help care for the rising number of infected, so much so that many medical facilities have begun seeking the assistance of retired doctors and nurses. These former medical professionals are treating those suffering from non-virus related aliments, allowing specialists to focus on COVID-19.
“While COVID-19 is occurring, all the other medical issues are still happening as well in the background,” said Dr. Jack Pottle, Chief Medical Officer for Oxford Medical Simulation, according to TechRepublic. “Many doctors and nurses are being drafted to manage COVID-19 and many other people who are not specialists are now being asked to take care for the more general patients–those with heart attacks, strokes, gastrointestinal bleeding and other emergencies.”
To help assist these struggling hospitals in training staff, Oxford Medical Simulation has begun offering its medical training platform free-of-charge during the COVID-19 pandemic to U.S., Canada, and U.K. facilities in need of assistance with patient care. Since allowing free access, the VR simulation training has been adopted by 50 hospitals with a combined total of 17,000 students and staff. These medical professionals are now using the companies VR simulations to brush up on their skills via a series of randomized training scenarios. These facilities join 50 other institutions who’ve been using the platforms since its launch 18 months ago.
“At the moment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are beginning to recruit more doctors and nurses, but they are also bringing doctors and nurses back into practice who have left previously,” added Pottle.”There is this huge need to train people up quickly, whether they are in the profession or whether they are coming back to the profession to help during the pandemic.”
Accessible via a VR headset or standard PC, the simulation puts participants through a random patient care scenario based on one of the 100 medical cases provided by facilities utilizing the platform. The training revolves around performing patient diagnoses using information gathered through physical examinations, patient history, and consultation. Each scenario is unique from the one before it, offering minute changes to the experience that leave participants constantly in the dark.
“So, they go in knowing they are seeing a patient with chest pain, for instance, but they don’t know anything else about that case,” continued Pottle. “It is not guided. They don’t need to do specific things at different points. They can do everything they normally would do when they are going to see a sick patient. Like in real life, they do not know the diagnosis going in.”
“It all adapts in real-time, so the patient will begin to look unwell if you don’t treat them. They will get pale or sweaty or clammy, their breathing rate will increase over time, their pulse will increase, their blood pressure will drop, and when you begin doing the right treatment, that gradually improves over time and they’ll begin to tell you they are feeling better. As you speak to colleagues on the phone about the patient, they’ll begin to tell you different things depending on what you’ve done in the scenario. It is all completely adaptable.”
Feature Image Credit: Oxford Medical Simulation