Why VR is just the tonic for healthcare

Why VR is just the tonic for healthcare

May 5, 2017

I was back in Los Angeles with our UK and US team last week at Vision AR/VR Summit to discuss our ground-breaking medical VR simulator, which has been put into use at the city’s Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Next week I’m off to Malta for eHealth, where I’ll be discussing the project in front of a large audience of health professionals.

The project has really captured people’s attention. Facebook featured it at the company’s recent F8 annual get together and we’ve been interviewed by The New York Times about the collaboration with Bioflight, the Hollywood-based VFX specialist, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The idea was to deliver a breakthrough in intelligent and responsive VR training for emergency paediatric trauma situations. The project has been funded by social media giant Facebook and uses an Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers designed not only for consumer applications but also for social and enterprise training solutions for healthcare and beyond.

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, AiSolve, Oculus and Bioflight have come together to deliver a VR simulation project creating more cost-effective, realistic, reliable and safe training of real-life trauma situations. Rather than use mannequins – the traditional method for such training – students can don VR headsets and experience emergency care scenarios in a virtual environment that looks and feels like a real-life scenario.

This is particularly important for paediatric resuscitation because doctors and nurses are often battling to save children’s lives in a shorter time window than for adults.

The VR simulation replaces traditional mannequin-based simulations, which are expensive. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles pays around $430,000 annually to train staff on mannequins and this training is also time-consuming.

A team of AI and  Unity programmers at AiSolve took the conceived medical environment and created an AI powered virtual world where students can make decisions and progress or re-evaluate their decisions based upon responses from the virtual patient and program. The scenarios were developed from real case studies provided by doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and have been transformed into intelligent and responsive content by a team VR experts. Logic-driven screenplays include multiple options, dialogue and a variety of events that may happen during a genuine paediatric emergency. The idea is that the students will be better prepared in real-life situations.

The project began in early 2016 and went through two prototyping developments in the same year. A fully-working model was delivered in early 2017 and the development and medical teams will continue to monitor and enhance the virtual world as more users learn with it.

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