Nepean Hospital, a teaching hospital based in New South Wales, has teamed up with Vantari VR to integrate virtual reality training into its curriculum.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
This partnership will launch and deploy a new virtual training platform over a three-year period. In a press statement, the VR startup said the platform will be integrated into the training curriculum of the hospital’s ICU department with a specific focus on central venous catheter insertion.
The partners will also develop a procedural training module to “facilitate a component of airway management in critically ill patients”.
WHY IT MATTERS
As Nepean Hospital is managing a heavy case load of COVID-19 patients, the new training platform will help in raising the proficiency of its ICU clinicians and trainees, especially in airway management. This skill has proven to be essential during the pandemic when ICU patients with COVID-19 require intubation.
Moreover, Dr Rebecca Rowley, VR lead at Nepean Hospital, hopes that the new platform will also help ease the educational load on already busy clinicians.
“By integrating Vantari VR into our education programme, trainees will already have advanced knowledge of the procedure before requiring clinician input. In addition, we hope Vantari VR will help our trainees have a more homogenous approach, as well as give repeated exposure to lesser performed procedures,” she said.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
Aside from Nepean Hospital, Vantari’s technology is also being used for training critical care practitioners at three other tertiary hospitals across Australia, including Fiona Stanley Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Westmead Hospital.
Featuring flight-simulator technology, the Vantari VR training platform provides medical training through a VR headset and a laptop. Its modules cover most medical procedures and deliver steps recommended by college guidelines. Vantari sees its technology being applied beyond the ICU to other critical care specialities, such as emergency medicine and anaesthetics.
The startup said it is in the process of securing A$2 million ($1.5 million) in funding as part of its capital raise, which will close in December. This comes as it received a $100,000 grant from American video game company Epic Games early this year.
ON THE RECORD
“We’re thrilled to be working with a young, innovative department who have a strong interest in technology and simulation training. We’re also excited to work closely with Associate Professor Sam Orde and ICU Clinical Fellow Lead for VR Dr Rebecca Rowley to establish new modules and validate them through research,” said Vantari VR co-founder and co-CEO Nishanth Krishnananthan.
“I think back to the first time I was performing procedures on patients, and how useful it would have been to have prior VR exposure. While it does not replace hands-on supervised practice, it is an amazing adjunct that will hopefully accelerate learning and has the potential to improve safety,” Dr Rowley said.
“I’m very much looking forward to developing our own module and [I] can’t wait to see it in action. The technology has already evolved in the brief time we have been in partnership,” she added.
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