Virtual Reality: A new reality for learning and development training

Orthopedic residents from training programs across the country now have access to VR headsets and an orthopedic training platform where they can continue their studies from any location.

Appearing in Med Tech News

Technological innovation has quickly emerged as one of the most important and pressing topics for organisations of all sectors. While there are plenty of movements calling for the use of innovative technologies in training across industries in the UK, many healthcare professionals may be flying blind when it comes to VR’s potential to innovate the medical training landscape.  

The drive to integrate technology and training, however, is continuously growing. The 2019 L&D Report from findcourses.com  finds that companies with revenue growth are more than twice as likely to use innovative technologies like game-based learning and augmented reality in their L&D offering. More companies and institutions than ever appear to be ready to call upon innovative technologies like virtual reality to enhance the impact of their L&D programs and affect their employees’ innovative potential from the ground up.

No longer used exclusively to train in the military, aviation, and heavy industry sectors, companies are finding exciting new applications for virtual reality at a rapid pace. As the technology develops further, the limits of your own imagination become the only constraint.

Move forward with VR

As we settle into the new decade, the growing importance of technology for the healthcare industry in the UK can’t be overstated. It’s predicted that the UK digital healthcare market will reach $28.3 billion by 2025. The UK government’s Long Term Plan in conjunction with the Accelerated Access Collaborative cements digital healthcare not as a trend, but as a new reality for medical training.

Director of employee experience at Bonobos Tiffany Poppa finds that when it comes to training: “Focussing on strengths creates trust; it creates a safe space to try something and possibly fail, have a conversation about it, and move forward.”

Technology is here to stay and clearing the innovation pathway for Virtual Reality has already begun. Training in healthcare requires giving medical professionals the tools they need to minimise potential risk factors in practice. With so much at stake, VR has the potential to give practising healthcare professionals the ability to feel safe in the training room – in a realistic environment as possible.

A growing innovation

Innovations by companies like FundamentalVR illustrate the global and growing excitement surrounding VR in healthcare. The company’s Fundamental Surgery Education platform recently finished a funding round with a post-money valuation of £11.3 million.

Tern CEO Al Sisto, one of Fundamental VR’s main investors explained that: “Changing the approach to learning and deploying new procedures and products in the world of healthcare is of critical importance for everyone’s future and FundamentalVR is leading the way.”

Utilising VR as a training solution

By harnessing the technology of VR, medical trainers have an opportunity to complement existing training by allowing employees to do something that’s relatively rare when it comes traditional learning avenues in the medical profession. VR essentially offers medical professionals the opportunity to rehearse and tailor new skills and knowledge in an extremely realistic environment without the associated risks.

According to Danny Belch, the chief strategy officer at STRIVR, VR’s ability to allow employees to practice their learning in a safe environment is what makes it such a rich complement to D&I training.

Belch said: “With VR, because of the on-demand nature, a real-life experience can be fired up with a click of a button.

“You can now practice these situations. You can get a legitimate lifelike scenario with full end-to-end practice. It’s not role play. It’s alone and the stakes are free. You have this beautifully free space to practice, to stumble on your words.”

The interactive nature of VR training transforms skills development into an impactful, risk-free training experience. In short, VR technology enhances conventional medical training because it provides an experiential mode of learning that simulates real-life medical practice, creating a safer environment for trainees to take lessons learned in training into their careers.

Room for growth

The possibilities are truly endless. Better understanding and willingness to implement this technology leads to faster, more sustainable business growth and room for future innovation. Regulatory bodies are already beginning to incorporate VR into legislation and risk-mitigation initiatives.

Embracing the innovations coming out of med-tech will continue to be a crucial ingredient for success, and VR offers an effective and increasingly accessible medium for achieving this. With every step taken to implement the latter, businesses amplify the potential benefits they stand to gain from developing a medical training program for trainees of any and all level.

Because of its versatility and proven effectiveness, virtual reality will continue to have a presence in the realm of professional training in general. Its accessibility to such a wide variety of healthcare professionals indicates that the applications for VR in the medical field can help training for every level, position and learning style in the field.

As VR technology continues to develop, learn how to effectively train employees to find opportunities to bring your new VR knowledge to your organisation yourself. Furthermore, through the normalisation of VR in the healthcare industry innovative companies will have an increased ability to illustrate VR’s limitless potential to medical trainees across the healthcare sector.

Derek Nicholson

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