News, NHS trust

Virtual reality used to support sepsis identification at Great Western Hospitals

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has shared how virtual reality (VR) technology is being utilised to help staff and students identify signs of sepsis, with the VR exposing users to a series of immersive simulations relating to sepsis, asthma and anaphylaxis which the trust says is ‘helping to upskill” staff and medical students.

The technology draws upon research from the University of Bath, with training scenarios for the trust developed through a collaboration between Great Western Hospitals clinical teaching fellows and training platform Goggleminds.

Goggleminds says that its technology allows users to connect to a library of “high-fidelity training simulations” via headsets, computers or laptops, and also supports the tracking and measuring of clinical skills performance through precision data analytics. At Great Western Hospital, the tech is being used in the immersive simulation suite, with the VR enabling users to walk through the experience of entering a room with a patient, listening to their breathing and heartbeat and taking subsequent actions.

The trust states that the technology is also allowing more doctors to be taught to identify sepsis outside of hospital training rooms and to participate in training in smaller numbers, which they hope will increase efficiency.

Professor Richard Joiner from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology, comments: “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.”

In other news on VR, Barnsley children’s and adult’s speech and language therapy team at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is utilising virtual reality software with the aim of supporting children and young people who stammer, providing them with an immersive environment in which to practise “everyday speaking situations in a safe space with the support of a therapist”.

Elsewhere, a VR therapy has received a positive Early Value Assessment from NICE, with a clinical trial taking place at NHS trusts including Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Foundation Trust demonstrating that the technology “led to reductions in anxiety and distress in everyday situations compared with usual care alone”.