The study wants to establish once and for all that virtual reality is a viable solution for high-stakes training, such as that in emergency services.
Virtual reality applications in healthcare continue to push the boundaries of patient care and professional training. Now, a NIST-funded study conducted by Health Scholars wants to find out if virtual reality could make EMS training safer and faster.
Particularly important is the work’s focus on training for pediatric care. Pediatric care is very different from adult care. Without continual training, healthcare workers could miss vital clues about a serious illness that could make resuscitation difficult. Children make up a small percentage of emergency cases, which leads to a question. How do EMS workers retain cutting-edge knowledge of pediatric care when they so rarely have to use it?
According to Brian Gillet, MD, the president of Health Scholars, the study wants to remove training obstacles and improve pediatric healthcare outcomes through the regular use of VR-based training.
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The scope of the virtual reality study
The study will compare traditional training with voice-directed VR training. Three EMS departments in the state of Colorado will begin using Health Scholars’ Pediatric Emergency Assessment VR Simulation Training using Oculus Quest 2 headsets.
The goal is to find out more clearly what the benefits are of VR training and if it leads to long-term knowledge retention. The great hope is that VR can bring down the obstacles that have long plagued departments in delivering top-notch pediatric care.
Training in pediatrics is difficult, time-consuming, and, most of all, expensive. This puts serious strain on even well-funded EMS units, much less rural teams with few resources to go around. Going virtual could help departments scale training with less expense.
By conducting an official study, Health Scholars wants to establish once and for all that virtual reality is a viable solution for high-stakes training, such as that in emergency services. If the connection is positive, EMS departments could finally have a way to train and keep skills current without adding to the burden on resources.