COLUMBUS, Ohio – VRpatients, the first and only virtual reality healthcare simulation application built exclusively for EMS, announced it was the subject of a recent case study illustrating the proven impact of its training and skills assessment tool for EMS practitioners. The case study was independently conducted at Portland Community College (PCC), the largest institute of higher learning in Oregon with four campuses and more than 83,000 students. PCC trains several hundred EMTs and about 25 paramedics each year.
“Our president, Mark Mitsui, wanted to see how Virtual Reality could be integrated into the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, “ said Robert Victorino, PCC’s Paramedic and Clinical Coordinator, who heads up the EMS simulation training program. “We volunteered to be one of the first two programs to be a part of his initiative, and we ran with it.”
PCC uses simulation in three types of EMS learning: 1) Formative (teaching basic concepts) 2) Summative (testing concepts) and 3) High Stakes (final testing of all cumulative knowledge). Eighteen months after incorporating VRpatients into the paramedic training program, the results were impressive: 45 percent of the students reported VRpatients gave them the opportunity to practice more; 30 percent reported it gave them the chance to see things they would not ordinarily see; and one in four reported they had more access to aspects of the field they wouldn’t have access to without the use of VRpatients.
Using the application’s case authoring tool, Victorino builds clinical case scenarios based on calls he experiences as a practicing paramedic with Skamania County EMS in Skamania, Washington. Often, they are cases he experienced a day or two before. He is able to almost immediately share the experience with students in a realistic, real-time virtual environment that is repeatable and allows for mistakes.
“We have been watching AR (Augmented Reality) and VR grow in healthcare simulation, and we were hesitant at first because everything we saw was either for nursing or military,” Victorino said. “We found VRpatients through an Internet search and quickly found that with COVID, it was the perfect solution to deliver the same content to students in a format that was safe for learning,” he added.
PCC initially acquired eight Enterprise Oculus headsets that students could check out and use on their own. Once students returned to campus, Victorino and his staff quickly realized students were watching while a team lead performed a case under the headset. So the staff decided to add a mannikin to create a truly interactive learning scenario: the team lead is in the VR headset, the simulation is cast to an overhead projector so other team members can see, and the team lead delegates actions.
“VRpatients is not intended to replace faculty member or traditional learning models,” Victorino emphasized. “It’s just an additional tool we use to optimize the overall learning process for any given student,” he added.
VRpatients is available in a cloud-based desktop version (with no headset requirement), as well as in full immersive virtual reality. Victorino has found the logical progression for his students is to start with the desktop version, move to the VR headset, and finally to the live training for the same case.
Portland Community College is now in the final stages of building a multi-million dollar simulation center on campus, which will include space for Virtual Reality for EMS as well as additional programs in the future.
Founded in 2018, VRpatients is a physiologically based clinical training platform that immerses a healthcare provider or first responder into actual clinical case scenarios, allowing them to assess, diagnose and treat patients in real-time. Available through a web-based platform or through a full clinical simulation experience using a virtual reality headset, VRpatients allows first responders to test and expand their clinical skills, reducing the likelihood of critical performance failure. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, it’s real life training without real life consequences. Visit http://www.vrpatients.com for more.