London-based Oxford Medical Simulation has announced that it is partnering with NHS England’s diabetes team to provide training for doctors using virtual reality.
Dr Jack Pottle, NHS clinical entrepreneur, medical director and co-founder of OMS, told MobiHealthNews that a pilot overseen by Health Education England Wessex is set to start this week at the Portsmouth and Southampton Hospitals.
Around 50 doctors will be able to use Oculus Rift VR headsets to ensure they are prepared for medical emergencies in at least 100 scenarios designed by Oxford Medical Simulation, NHS doctors, and patients with diabetes.
The development has been funded by Novo Nordisk, and, depending on the results of the trial, the company says that the system could be rolled out across the country later this year.
What’s the trend
Studies have sought to explore VR’s potential in a variety of healthcare applications, and a recent review identified both VR and AR as two technological advances that will have an impact on the entire NHS workforce by 2040, along with telemedicine, apps, sensors and wearables for diagnostics and remote monitoring.
In February, research revealed the effectiveness of immersive VR technology from Durham-based Third Eye NeuroTech firm, developed with specialists from Newcastle University, in treating phobias and anxieties of children and adults with autism.
Surgical training has also been a key area of focus, and London-based FundamentalVR announced last month that it had teamed up with HaptX, while Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup Vicarious Surgical revealed that it had closed a $10m (approximately £7.6m) funding round to develop their commercial product.
On the record
“When I was in training we’d learn on the wards. It was called ‘see one, do one, teach one’,” Pottle added in a statement.
“I had never practiced managing a diabetic emergency until I had to do it in real life," he said. "You wouldn’t expect a pilot to fly a plane full of passengers without having practiced first. Why do we think that’s acceptable for doctors and nurses?”
Margot James, minister for digital, said Oxford Medical Simulation was “a great example of the ground-breaking digital companies” coming out of the UK.