● VR simulation recreates emergency room environment for training
● Project sponsored by Facebook Oculus and designed and delivered by AiSolve and Bioflight VR in collaboration with doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
● Initiative opens up faster, more realistic and more cost-effective training in healthcare and other industry sectors
AiSolve, the UK-based specialist in artificial intelligence (AI) powered virtual reality (VR), Bioflight VR, the Hollywood-based VFX specialist, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles have collaborated to deliver breakthrough intelligent and responsive VR training for emergency paediatric trauma situations.
Supported by social media giant Facebook, it is a transformational initiative using an Oculus Rift headset and Touch controllers designed not only for consumer applications but also for social and enterprise training for healthcare and beyond.
Like most industries, with skills shortages and budget cuts, the healthcare sector has seen significant changes in its delivery model in the last few years. With a growing shortage of skilled physicians and surgeons and fewer care givers and medical assistants, this sector is facing a serious skills shortage.
For Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, AiSolve, Oculus and Bioflight have delivered a VR simulation project to create more cost-effective, realistic and reliable training of real-life trauma situations. Rather than use mannequins – the traditional method for such training – students can now 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 care 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 as, for example, constant cardiopulmonary resuscitation repeatedly on a mannequin will break it eventually. 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 programmers at AiSolve took the conceived medical environment and created an Artificial Intelligence powered virtual world where students can make decisions and progress or re-evaluate their decisions based upon responses from the virtual patient, virtual medical staff 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 of AI and VR experts who converted these real life scenarios into logic-driven screenplays with multiple options, dialogue, possible events and a variety of events that may happen during a genuine paediatric emergency. The idea is that the students will be able to practice under realistic workplace pressures and conditions within the virtual world so that they are 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.
AiSolve CEO Devi Kolli said that the virtual training developed has multiple applications across industry sectors and that the objective at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was to work with medical experts to ensure technical and environmental accuracy.
Kolli said: “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. 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.”
Shauna Heller, an Oculus alum who served as executive director of the program, added: “The true promise of VR is to solve problems, share knowledge and save lives and this Children’s Hospital Los Angeles pilot will deliver on all three. AiSolve’s participation was pivotal and its VR Sims platform was crucial to the success of the pilot.”
According to Dr Todd Chang of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: “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.”
Dr Chang added: “Experiential learning is among the best way to practice paediatric emergencies. We had a rather aggressive timetable and the VR simulation literally improved week by week. 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.”
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