The next generation of professional healthcare training has arrived.
The healthcare sector has seen better days. Whether it be budget cuts or red-tape regarding health insurance, it’s a tumultuous time for the complex medical industry. However one of the biggest issues currently plaguing these essential services is simply a general lack of skilled healthcare professionals. That’s exactly why Children’s Hospital Los Angeles teamed up with Oculus and other VR companies to bring low-cost emergency care training via virtual reality technology.
Thanks to partnership between Facebook, UK-based AI in VR specialists AiSolve, Hollywood-based VFX group Bioflight VR and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, will soon be using VR to provide reliable, cost-effective training to doctors, nurses, physicians and surgeons by dropping them in virtual environments which realistically simulate real-life emergency scenarios.
The current standard in healthcare training involves the use of expensive and time-consuming mannequins that often break after extended use. In fact, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles alone ends up spending roughly $430,000 per year using this more traditional method.
By using an Oculus Rift headset along with Touch controllers, students can now receive the same training faster, cheaper and easier. Using advanced artificial intelligence from AiSolve, students will enter a virtual environment in which virtual patients, virtual medical staff and the program itself will respond to their decisions in real-time. Based off actual case studies conducted and provided by the doctors of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the virtual scenarios are extremely authentic. Logic-driven screenplays featuring various outcomes, dialogue and events keep the students under realistic workplace pressure by constantly changing the scenario.
“The aim of this is to prepare medical staff with the most realistic environment possible so that they experience the fast-moving, life-and- death, decision-making process multiple times and create strategies to make fast and accurate decisions for when children’s lives are in the balance,” said AiSolve CEO Devi Kolli. “Through our collaboration with Oculus, Facebook and BioflightVR, we feel we’ve created the most realistic and immersive educational tool for healthcare providers that’s ever been developed.”
Dr Todd Chang of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles added: “On average we need one hour to prepare a 30 minute, mannequin-based simulation, and another 30 minutes to clean up. Our organisation pays around $430,000 annually to train staff on mannequins, despite it being very time-consuming as it’s the only best simulated training solution up until now.”
“Experiential learning is among the best way to practice pediatric emergencies. We had a rather aggressive timetable and the VR simulation literally improved week by week,” continued Dr. Chang. “VR allows for the first-time experiential learning where not all the people are in the same room at the same time. It is far more flexible and students can perform the training far more often.”
Developing a faster, more efficient form of professional training is especially crucial to an organization such as Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. pediatricians must often work at a much faster rate than standard doctors as battling to save the lives of children means a much smaller window of time to work with. By using this VR program as opposed to mannequins, the rate at which professionals can be trained increases dramatically while the cost simultaneously decreases.
Initially developed in early 2016, the program saw several revisions that same year before releasing its current working model in early 2017. Developers and medical teams will continue to monitor and add to the experience as it spreads to more medical facilities.