TMC pilots new virtual reality training platform

Tucson Medical Center, in partnership with 3lbXR, is piloting a brand new first-of-its-kind virtual reality training program for nurses, patient care technicians and environmental services staff.

Created to address high-risk and problematic tasks and work responsibilities in a health care setting, this virtual reality platform allows for immersive training in a safe environment, where trainees can learn from their mistakes.

“Like other simulation education, VR has the ability to offer a safe space for practice of significant skills for numerous health care workers,” said Cam Dyman, application training manager, Clinical Informatics, TMC. “Mistakes can be made without real consequences to patients, which allows for modification of TMC practices that fall outside of expectations for safe, high-quality patient care. Repeated opportunities to work through the proper steps or processes for high-risk events provides the great opportunity for performance improvement in a virtual space that can be translated to real practice in the health care setting.”
The topics for training include scenarios for nursing staff and environmental services staff – c. difficile sanitation, patient room cleaning, fall prevention and suicide prevention – all in an immersive virtual reality format.

A virtual workspace

During training, staff will put on a headset and transport into a workspace to learn procedures and skills necessary for their job. Rooms in the training modules mirror rooms at TMC for a realistic experience.

“With virtual reality, we build the entire environment,” said Robin Moulder, CEO 3lbXR. “I can put you in an ICU for training and with the click of a button, take you to an entirely different room and an entirely different situation.”

Research study

This new training is part of a TMC Foundation-funded program that includes a research study with aims to enroll more than 200 registered nurse participants. The purpose of the study is to measure nurse confidence and competence for specific clinical skills through the use of virtual reality training modules. The use of VR contributes to the efficient use of education and human resources.

“TMC has the opportunity to be a front-runner in the use of advanced technology, like VR, to shape the provision of high-quality, safe patient care,” Dyman said. “TMC and 3lbXR will be able to disseminate the findings from the research study to inform clinical practice with the overall goal of positively influencing patient safety, quality of care and patient experience.”

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