Levels of fidelity for simulation are part of the development phase for delivering training and education. And virtual reality (VR) has the potential to enable learning in a recreated version of our own environments, deliver high levels of fidelity (realism) and engagement. The technology and access to virtual reality resources is limited at present but has the potential to grow and become part of everyday life and learning.
From being on a roller coaster, running with dinosaurs, to outer space travel, the ability of virtual reality to create opportunity to access various environments is an exciting technology. In healthcare we could take the opportunity to develop and test a virtual hospital/ward/bedspace in the VR world, to ensure they meet the needs before the real money is spent on bricks and mortar. Procedures and guidelines can also be tested in the safe environment of the VR world.
Then education and training can be routinely delivered in the VR world. From the nursing perspective, instead of reading or watching a video about sepsis and the complex process. You can now watch the multi-system process of sepsis in virtual reality, the bodies response to foreign bacteria, and this potentially provides a clearer imagery, increased engagement and understanding for the learner.
Patients can visit the hospital, ward or theatre pre-procedure to see the actual environment in VR. They could watch the actual surgical intervention or investigation, understanding the surgery and post-operative issues. This provides more understanding, control and power to the patient.
Like any technology the accessibility and cost will be a factor of the use of VR across education in schools, higher education and the work setting.
Virtual Reality Resources
Virtual Reality Can Change The Hospital Experience – The Medical Futurist
ER VR Trailer – Medical Training Simulation