Clinical simulations in VR are the recreation of healthcare scenarios in a virtual world. These are safe and controlled environments mimicking real-world setups where learners can practice simple to complex procedures in absolutely risk-free environments. Learners get to practice skills related to all aspects of a healthcare setup; may or may not be directly involving patients.
Almost all departments in a healthcare facility can benefit from VR training, helping hone skills, build confidence as well as meet the increasing requirements.
These include skills pertaining to:
– Physicians and specialists
– Mental health
– Allied healthcare
– Equipment handling
– Soft skills like patient interaction, patient education, critical thinking etc.
– Continued development
According to a Mercer report, by 2025 the US alone will face a shortage of 446,300 home health aides, 95,000 nursing assistants, 98,700 medical and lab technologists and technicians and 29,400 nurse practitioners. These figures are nothing but alarming. Reasons for this shortage can be attributed to causes like an aging population, increased longevity, retiring workforce, insufficient new recruitments and lack of training facilities. One way to ward off this crisis would be to provide quality training opportunities and VR can prove to be that solution.
Benefits of Clinical Simulations in VR
Clinical simulations in VR create the perfect healthcare scenario, provide all required affordances and help practice in realistic environments with a virtual patient. Each immersive VR session provides learners with thorough practice sessions, helping refine each skill to the finest level. Some of the notable benefits of practicing in virtual environments with virtual patients include the following:
Immersive experience: When placed in a photorealistic VR world equipped with affordances, learners become part of an immersive and engaging environment where they get to interact with and within the environment and perform tasks as they would in a real-world setup.
Practical training: Practical training is a must in the healthcare curriculum and with VR, users get hands-on practice in all kinds of relevant skills. Practicing real-life like tasks in a virtual world prepares learners to face real-world challenges with confidence.
Distraction-free: When completely immersed in a VR environment, distractions are eliminated, creating an ideal learning environment for learners. It is a known fact that distraction-free learning delivers highly successful results.
Risk-free training: Surgeries can be high-risk, especially in emergency cases. Not so in the virtual world. VR allows replicating true-to-life scenarios, no matter how high-risk they are, for training purposes. Learners can practice in realistic settings and gain real life-like experiences, and in the process, confidence.
Repeated practice sessions: One VR simulation can be used for repeated training sessions. Unlike a physical setup, VR scenarios do not get altered or require revamping after every session. A few clicks, and the learner is able to start afresh, as many numbers of times as required.
Reduced maintenance costs: All training assets are in the virtual world in digital format. When practicing procedures on a virtual patient in VR there is no physical damage to the assets, eliminating the cost of repair and replacement.
No recurring costs: Recurring expenses for inventory management, large training premises, maintenance of the premises and assets, repair etc. are eliminated when practicing clinical simulations in VR.
Types of clinical simulations in VR
Healthcare, needless to say, is a complex field with a multitude of procedures and tasks performed by varying professionals. Each one has its own significance. In view of this fact, it is also to be understood that one kind of training will not be a good fit for all. Different tasks need different types of trainings.
MedVR Education is spearheading its way in creating evidence based XR simulations for healthcare training and has three distinct types of simulations to offer to its learners.
Procedural solutions: As a healthcare professional one is required to perform numerous procedures. These can be is basic ones like drawing blood or critical ones like a PICC insertion. Thorough preparation, careful execution, and to some extent, good muscle memory are essential towards the successful and efficient completion of procedures. These are qualities that can be acquired and honed with quality training. Clinical simulations from MedVR Education are designed to provide learners opportunities to develop these very qualities and help achieve excellence in performing medical procedures. Some of the procedural simulations in the current library include skills training for phlebotomy, IV insertion, PICC insertion and removal, NG tube insertion, tracheostomy care, colostomy care and many more in the pipeline.
Open scenarios: Open scenario VR trainings are more or less like open world video games where the user is given access to the environment to act as deemed necessary. Since these are medical scenarios, these are of a more serious nature. Learners are required to perform tasks towards a set goal. This could involve diagnosing and treating a sepsis patient or performing the necessary tasks to treat a patient suffering a cardiac arrest. The sessions culminate in a debriefing of the learner’s performance, listing out how the learner fared.
To know more about MedVR Education’s open scenarios, the following link can be helpful.
AI-based training: Proper diagnosis is important to administer correct treatment. This can involve conversing with the patient, asking relevant questions, understanding the patient’s responses, being able to read body language, and drawing appropriate conclusions. The AI-based training provides training in these very qualities. The learner can interact with multiple AI-based virtual patient profiles, asks questions regarding the ailments and tries to understand the symptoms being narrated. These patients are programmed to respond like real humans with learners, providing learners with true-to-life patient-doctor interaction.
Practice is the key to perfecting skills, and when it comes to healthcare the significance of practice goes to a whole new level. Lives are at stake here; not just the patient but families too. In order to be capable enough to provide the best possible care, a healthcare professional must be well-trained, capable and confident and these come with quality training and consistent practice. Clinical simulations in VR provide learners the perfect opportunity to perform, practice, polish, and perfect their skills so that they are able to provide their patients with the best care.