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Hot on the heels of its contract for a virtual reality (VR) pilot to train doctors delivering diabetes treatment in the NHS, Oxford Medical Simulation has partnered with Oxford University to offer a similar programme to students.

UK-based Oxford Medical Simulation’s VR system is being used at the Oxford Simulation, Teaching and Research (OxSTaR) centre based at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

From their base at the main teaching hospital for Oxford University Medical School, students will use Oculus headsets to access libraries of medical emergencies that allows them to simulate the treatment of a range of conditions such as sepsis, diabetes, cardiac failure and pancreatitis. 

Oxford University decided to employ VR for medical training in order to help more students get through the simulation aspect of their studies.

Simulation is traditionally practiced with high-fidelity plastic mannequins in mocked up hospital wards, but this aspect of study is time, space and budget consuming. VR, on the other hand, allows students to practice simulated scenarios as often as they like.

Rosemary Warren, centre manager at OxSTaR, explained: “Embedding virtual reality simulation into what we do has enabled us to give a far greater number of learners access to simulation in a shorter space of time.”

“It’s encouraging to see how quickly our students have adopted the technology. I’m excited to see how they progress clinically as they use it more and more. Simulation is a vital part of medical education and students just don’t get to do it enough. The Oxford Medical Simulation virtual reality platform allows learners to enter simulation as often as they like to transfer their knowledge to practice.”

Dr Jack Pottle, medical director at the VR training platform provider, added: “We’re delighted to be working with the world’s leading university to bring our virtual reality simulation platform to Oxford medical students.”

“We have developed Oxford Medical Simulation out of a belief that training healthcare professionals in a flexible, zero-risk environment will transform patient care around the world. We learn best when learning from experience and our system allows users to do just that—without putting patient’s lives at risk.”

NHS doctors undergo diabetes training in VR

The partnership with NHS England, struck in April, saw Oxford Medical Simulation provide its platform to doctors in South England.

NHS England partnered with the VR training platform provider to allow doctors to practice in VR medical emergencies, so that they can improve care for patients with diabetes in the real world.

The VR training platform provider has contributed headsets for the doctors participating in the pilot. Novo Nordisk is funding development.

If the pilot proves successful, the programme could go nationwide later this year.

Image credit: OMS