Staff and students at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are being taught how to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis, using virtual reality technology drawing on research from the University of Bath.
Clinical Teaching Fellows at the Trust have worked with training platform Goggleminds, to develop training scenarios using immersive simulation concerning sepsis, asthma, and anaphylaxis.
The Trust is the only health organisation in the region to have been loaned this equipment by Goggleminds and is currently using it to teach its medical students from Oxford University.
The headsets place doctors and medical students in an immersive environment, using virtual reality headsets and augmented reality to simulate treating patients.
This approach has been tested by a team from the University of Bath, with their findings into its effectiveness recently published in the Journal of Visual Communication & Medicine.
Every year in the UK 48,000 people die from sepsis, and this work has been praised by the UK Sepsis Trust for helping doctors and students learn key skills for identifying this life-threatening condition.
The technology also allows more doctors to be taught outside of hospital training rooms and in smaller numbers, which increases efficiency.
This work is supporting academic research at the University of Bath, to understand how using virtual reality technology can provide healthcare students with engaging and realistic learning.
Dr Chris Jacobs, Undergraduate Tutor to medical students at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a recent graduate of the University of Bath’s Doctor of Medicine programme, said: “The great thing about being able to place students and junior doctors in an immersive environment using this technology is that it can be used outside of ward areas, and it is helping to upskill our staff and students, to get the early identification of sepsis for our patients. This would not have been possible without Trust support from Mr Angus Waddell, Trust Academy dean, and Gogglemind directly working with clinicians “
Professor Richard Joiner from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, said: “Sepsis and anaphylaxis are major challenges in healthcare settings, and how frontline medical teams respond can mean the difference between life and death. This new VR simulation addresses this challenge by enabling doctors to train experientially in a safe and realistic environment, without endangering patients. The University of Bath is delighted to have collaborated on the project which could have significant impacts for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, but also many others beyond.”
Dr Ron Daniels, founder and joint CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Sepsis is a life-threatening condition arising when the body's response to an infection causes organ damage. In the UK alone, it's responsible for 48,000 lives lost each year, many of which are preventable. The challenge facing health professionals working in a pressured NHS environment is that it can be very difficult to spot: that's why we're delighted to have partnered with GoggleMinds to add a further dimension to our sepsis educational resources through virtual reality – training which sticks in the mind saves lives."