Emergency Training in Virtual Reality

The future has arrived for medical education…

Virtual Reality (VR) technology has been around for quite a while now but has been costly and complicated. Over the last couple of years, there has been an explosion in technology and now Virtual Reality is available with just a smart phone and a cheap VR headset (even cardboard will work!). The cost and complexity of creating content has also reduced significantly.

The new technology opens up exciting possibilities for medical education. The Department of General Practice has embraced the new technology and is pioneering VR content for use in the medical curriculum.

When year 2 MBBS students this year attend their basic life support tutorial they will first be immersed into a virtual emergency situation where they will observe 2 actors assessing an unconscious patient. The students will identify the errors the actors make and then discuss them in the following practical tutorial. An exemplar video is available as well demonstrating correct technique.
The scenario was filmed using a 360 degree camera which stitches together a full panoramic scene. The picture below shows a frame from the scenario flattened into an equirectangular picture to allow viewing of the 3D content in 2D.

This VR training session will hopefully be the first of many. The Department hopes to create further training modules for the Year 4 MBBS students, adding in layers of interactivity (choose your own adventure style) for managing emergencies in General Practice.

The videos that have been created for this training are hosted on YouTube and are publically available. To view them, just go to the Department of General Practice YouTube page. You can view VR/360 video in your browser by panning around the scene with your mouse, you just miss out on the immersive experience using a VR headset offers. While you are there, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you don’t miss out on any other videos we post up.

If you want to view the content in VR, all you need is any smartphone (Cardboard on an Android phone requires version 4.1 or higher, Cardboard on an iOS requires version 8.0 or higher). You can buy a comfortable plastic VR headset to insert your phone into for less than $30 and they are available from most electronics retailers (JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, etc.). Download Google Carboard and the YouTube apps from the App Store or Google Play for free and you are good to go. The amount of VR content going up is increasing, you can take yourself on a tour of Mt Everest after you have refreshed your basic life support skills with our video.