Category Archives: Virtual Reality Software

In It To Help You Win It: OMS Customer Success

OMS CS Team collaborating at desk
OMS CS Team collaborating at desk

You’ve done your research, vetted your options, and chosen a VR partner, but what happens after you get started with OMS? 

At this stage, it’s just the beginning of your implementation of VR, so it’s imperative that you feel supported and guided through the process. 

At OMS, Educational Specialists and Customer Success Teams work hand-in-hand to ensure that you’re supported throughout the sales and onboarding processes. 

Educational Specialists are clinicians, educators, and simulation technologists who often use their knowledge to assist clients in understanding VR use in healthcare education and training. They consult and collaborate with you in the development of curriculum mapping, so you can know that you’re getting the right scenarios to fit what you need, meet key learning objectives, and provide learners with what they need to succeed.

They have the clinical and educational backgrounds to be able to help faculty understand the educational impact of VR, and because they are well-acquainted with course structures, different learner types, learners’ needs and what’s appropriate for them, they can help you to plan for the use of VR, as well. 

Once you’re ready to implement VR and onboard your learners, educators, and trainers, a Customer Success Team member will work with you to ensure it all goes smoothly and provide you with the tools you need to have a successful experience with VR. 

What is Customer Success?

In short, the Customer Success Team works with you to facilitate your use of OMS. They are experts in the platform and work with you to create a plan of action for implementation and onboarding. 

They have a robust understanding of how the platform works, how accounts are structured, how access can work, and how best to train people in OMS.

They’ll help you create defined goals to know more about what success will look like for you and your learners, and they’ll provide all the training and support that you need in order to get there.

As you make decisions about what types of scenarios to use or how many learners you’ll onboard, your CS will help you determine how you want to implement. They’ll work with you to determine:  

  • Goals you want to achieve
  • Pain points you want to address
  • Impact you want to have
  • Implementation schedule

From the high level to the minute details, your CS will help you put together a joint impact plan to help you meet your objectives and make sure you’re all set up and ready to get going. Because there are no standardized benchmarks, milestones are created collaboratively, always aligning with your needs and goals. 

How does Customer Success provide support? 

Once you have gone live, your CS will consistently check in with you to ensure it’s all going to plan and will proactively troubleshoot as needed. 

As you move through the onboarding process, your CS will provide you with resources like videos, walkthroughs, guides, or how-to’s. These resources can be made custom and are there to help your staff and learners get acquainted with the platform quickly and easily, without ever needing to create a PDF guide yourself. 

Your CS will also be able to make visits to you on-site, which can be invaluable during the beginning stages of implementation. From hosting a training day to a first onboarding session, they can work with you to kickstart your program between faculty and learners. 

In some cases, dedicated support hours can be made available, meaning you or your learners can easily book time one-on-one with a member of the Support team to further help you with any questions or concerns. 

No matter what your confidence level is with using VR, your CS will be there to guide you along the way or troubleshoot any difficulties. They can recommend best practices from things like how to run group versus individual sessions all the way down to what type of cable you should use to connect your headset to a computer or larger screen. 

As you become more comfortable and independent with your use of OMS and VR, your CS will remain available, and they’ll touch base for a check-in call down the road. Additionally, your CS will put together an end-of-year usage report for you, so you can better understand how your learners engaged with OMS throughout your program. 

The Customer Success Team at OMS is there to listen first and creatively solution with you to ensure you’re getting all that you can out of your VR experience. 

There are endless possibilities for what you can achieve with VR and how your CS can help you get there. 

They’ll remain an easy point of contact for you, and they’ll consistently check in to ensure you’re getting the most out of your VR experience. They’ll remediate or flag issues and work to ensure problems are resolved without landing on you or a staff member’s plate. The Customer Success Team is there to make your experience on the platform seamless and to provide you with what you need to meet your goals and learning objectives. To learn more about how to make the most of your VR experience, get in touch with us here.

Interested in trying VR sim? Arrange a free demo with us today.

Five Ways VR is Paving the Way for a Digital Tomorrow

Using a Meta Quest VR headset for healthcare training

Say hello to the future: virtual reality is already changing the world.

While the development of virtual reality technology stretches back as far as the early 19th century, it is only in recent years that VR has started to become more widely available to the public. Since its commercial debut in mid-2010, virtual reality has been making a steady impact. Hardware is becoming much more affordable, and we’re no longer limited by wires or access to a high-end gaming PC.

What is VR?

Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated, virtually immersive environment designed to trick the brain into thinking that the experience is real.Users experience VR through a headset (also known as a head-mounted device, or HMD). Virtual reality is most often experienced through two senses – sight and sound – but advancements in technology mean some VR experiences utilize touch through haptic feedback.

How is VR giving us a glimpse into the future?

Virtual reality hardware is becoming more affordable, and we’re no longer limited by wires or access to a high-end PC. As accessibility to VR technology has improved, companies are turning their attention to the metaverse.Valued at $9.2 billion in 2020, the global VR market is set to grow a staggering 868 percent by 2027 to $89.1 billion. Enthusiasm for virtual reality is spreading. In fact, the applications  of this innovative technology are virtually(!) endless.Without further ado, here are five ways VR is already unveiling a new world of possibilities.

1. Cutting-edge training

Of course we had to mention this one first!

Virtual reality is undoubtedly becoming a popular medium for delivering educational content. As hardware becomes increasingly cost-effective, more educators are using VR to reimagine the learning experience in ways never before possible.

Due to its immersiveness and scalability, it’s no surprise to learn that healthcare is one of the critical industries benefiting most from virtual reality. It enables users to pick up a headset and easily practice complex clinical situations with no risk to patients. Plus, with a growing choice of headsets available, institutions can freely embed virtual reality into the curriculum without the need for any creative workarounds.

Finally, the versatility of VR technology means companies can create software to achieve specific learning objectives. For instance, while some companies focus on procedural training for surgeons, OMS trains healthcare professionals in critical thinking, clinical decision-making, and patient interaction. VR also opens up the potential to better understand the struggles of disabled patients (such as those with a hearing impairment), which builds empathy and fosters better patient care.

The educational and training applications of virtual reality are spreading far beyond clinical practice. Hospitality brands such as the Hilton have seen the immense benefits of using VR to provide empathy training for staff, with the same level of training delivered in a fraction of the time.

Engaging education

VR is also the perfect medium for helping learners to experience history first-hand. In the Natural History Museum’s Hold the World app, a virtual Sir David Attenborough gives an up-close look at various historical artifacts in London’s Natural History Museum’s Hold the World application. With apps like Lost Recipes, you relive history for yourself, learning the traditional cooking methods in a variety of kitchens throughout history.

In-game screenshot of a player during the virtual reality game Lost Recipes
Lost Recipes uses virtual reality technology to teach players recipes from ancient history. © Schell Games

Getting hands-on

VR hardware doesn’t currently allow us to perceive touch in quite the same way we do in reality. That’s soon likely to change. Advancements in haptics will open up the possibility for us to feel the weight of an artifact in our hands, experience the resistance of piano keys when learning to play, or even feel some gentle pressure when inserting a virtual patient’s IV line. Natural Language Processing (NLP) is a rapidly developing field of machine learning technology that will enable users to have authentic, rich conversations with simulated characters in virtual reality. It’s an exciting thought for developing patient consultation skills in healthcare. Both vibro-haptic hand control and NLP voice control are new features being trialed by OMS in 2022. Not only will this bring unprecedented realism to the way learners experience VR simulation, but these features will also help train clinicians in holistic patient care. 

2. Global communication

Between social media, instant messaging, and video calling, innovations in technology have made the world smaller than ever before. Virtual reality goes a step further, making us believe we’re in the same space as friends, family, or colleagues. The concept of presence — the feeling of being physically present in an environment — is what sets VR apart from other technologies. Social VR encourages users to enjoy activities in the same digital space, which brings us closer in a more realistic way. Many social platforms, like VRChat, empower users to meet others across the globe in a virtual space, giving them a new and exciting way to feel part of a community. In December 2021, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) announced that, for the first time, Horizon Worlds can be enjoyed by everyone in the US and Canada without an invitation. Billed as “the most collaborative platform in VR”, Meta’s Horizon Worlds gives users the tools to build, explore, and play with friends without a second thought to distance.

Distance training for healthcare

For healthcare, VR has potential applications for remote care delivery to patients, innovative staff team-building, and long-distance interprofessional education to train effectively as a group. OMS Interprofessional, which launched last year, gives users the potential to train collaboratively with other medical professionals from around the globe.

Smarter patient consultations

Including virtual reality in the patient consultation process could also help to lighten the strain on healthcare systems. Group appointments for patients with similar medical conditions can improve patient trust and satisfaction. With VR involved, patients could remotely share appointments across distances — with no decrease in the quality of care — freeing up clinicians’ time across the country.

In-game screenshot of OMS Interprofessional in virtual reality
OMS Interprofessional gives healthcare professionals across the globe the freedom to train together in VR.

3. Improved therapeutics

When it comes to healthcare, virtual reality benefits more than just training and education. When patients use a VR headset, results show potential in pain management, physiotherapy, and mental healthcare.

A pain-free reality

The opioid epidemic sweeping the US has added greater urgency to the search for non-addictive pain remedies. Virtual reality may be the answer we’ve been searching for.

VR technology has the potential to reduce pain in a variety of situations, such as during complicated cases of childbirth. Clinical trials at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, show VR can significantly reduce pain for mothers during external cephalic version procedures (where breech babies are turned manually). VR can offer patients respite and, in some cases, the hope of recovery where previous therapies and technologies have failed.

Managing mental health

Researchers from the University of Central Florida have used VR to dynamically recreate traumatic experiences for patients with PTSD, re-introducing these “triggers” alongside therapy so the patient has the opportunity to unlearn their fear responses. The VR platform is currently undergoing clinical trials.

Ready to move your institution forward? Arrange a free demo with one of our experts.

4. Next-generation entertainment

VR has unquestionably made its mark on the gaming industry. Take Beat Saber — in early 2021, the developers announced a staggering 4 million sales (and counting!) since its launch in 2018. But the potential of virtual reality goes far beyond gaming, and it could redefine the way we understand entertainment. In 2020, virtual reality stepped up to fill the gap left by an absence of live physical events, and platforms continue to host completely virtual events today. The Oculus Venues app hosts a roster of concerts, comedy clubs, and sports fixtures, whereas Sansar, which is known for its virtual dance parties and raves, delivers the party experience from the comfort of your home. 

Interactive exhibitions

When venues began to open again, VR expanded the reach of events by offering a virtual alternative to in-person attendance. As part of their 2021 Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition, the V&A commissioned an interactive retelling of the original Alice in Wonderland story. Users could choose to experience Alice’s world at the in-person exhibit, or download it at home to enjoy from afar.


In January 2022, popular artist KAWS pioneered a virtual recreation of his real-life ‘NEW FICTION’ exhibition so that it could be enjoyed around the world. The exhibition was hosted in Fortnite — which can be played on many mainstream VR headsets — and has been hailed as “the beginning of a new chapter of art”.

KAWS exhibit in Fornite virtual reality
The KAWS exhibit in Fortnite gives us a glimpse into the future of VR entertainment. © Epic Games

We’re already starting to see the benefits of VR for entertainment in areas beyond gaming, but so many more exciting possibilities lay ahead. With greater developments in technology, filmmakers will be able to give you an authentic movie theater experience from the comfort of your couch. In the future, new advancements in VR technology will open up possibilities in arts, culture, and entertainment that have never before been imagined.

5. Immersive shopping

COVID-19 saw a rapid increase in the adoption of virtual reality technology for shopping and housebuying. Now, with consumers becoming more comfortable with VR technology, we can look forward to new and exciting ways to shop.

But why is this? Because virtual reality effortlessly combines the experience of a physical shop with the ease and convenience of a digital one. As a result, brands are opening stores in the metaverse for customers to enjoy without ever leaving the house.

Real brands, virtual showrooms

Obsess is a platform that delivers 360-degree showroom environments for brands. They meticulously recreate the stores of famous retailers, paying attention to every detail, including the music that plays inside. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can shop there.

Some companies are thinking even bigger. For example, Japanese cosmetics brand SK-II recently launched a virtual city to promote and sell their products, rewarding users with in-game currency for their participation. 

Ready to move your institution forward?Arrange a free demo with one of our experts.

So there we have it.

Over 64 million people are already using virtual reality worldwide, and that’s just the beginning. Enormous strides in virtual reality technology are set to transform how we shop, learn, and socialize sooner than we think. Some industries are already embracing the change. In healthcare alone, numerous applications of virtual reality are revolutionizing patient healthcare and pioneering the way clinicians train. When it comes to delivering scalable, immersive clinical training, the virtual reality revolution is here — and there is so much more to come! Patients who have experienced the benefits of VR agree that healthcare providers should “use the technology for your patients’ today, not their tomorrows”. And health systems needn’t wait; VR simulation is already improving clinical competence and patient outcomes with no compromise on quality. The future of VR is already here, and you can lead the change in your industry today.


OMS named as finalists at the VR Awards

OMS Interprofessional makes the finals of the 2020 VR Awards

We are honored and excited to have been nominated as a finalist for the 2020 VR Awards for OMS Interprofessional.

OMS Interprofessional is the multiplayer virtual reality platform from Oxford Medical Simulation. Designed to provide immersive training opportunities for doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals, OMS Interprofessional lets clinicians work together wherever they are in the world. 

A doctor in California can now work with a nurse in Oxford and a facilitator in Baltimore to treat virtual patients. Participants can speak to the virtual patient and each other in real time, carry out examinations, make diagnoses and provide treatments just like in real life.

They can then learn from personalized feedback and repeat as often as they need in order to provide the best care for patients in real life. Using OMS Interprofessional can optimize quality of training while freeing up time, space and money to help hospitals provide optimal patient care.

Winners will be announced in November – until then we’ve got our fingers and toes crossed! 

LEARN MORE about OMS Interprofessional LEARN MORE

Virtual Reality World Tech Magazine: Informed Immersion

Immersive technology is making significant strides in training medical professionals and as a treatment in health and wellness.

There are many ways that virtual reality (VR) can be applied in healthcare – from training medical professionals to aiding surgeons through visualisation or even robotics. But where is immersive tech really excelling right now, and what is it achieving for patients and medical professionals alike?

In the article below, Dr Jack Pottle, Chief Medical Officer at Oxford Medical Simulation, speaks to VR World Tech – discussing the views and often misconceptions that institutions have about immersive tech…

Read the full interview here


The Importance of Simulation

Types of simulation

This week is Healthcare Simulation week and as part of the celebrations we take a look at five reasons to salute the wonderful practice of simulation…



1. Simulation improves patient care 

By far the most compelling benefit of simulation in healthcare is the positive impact that it can have on patients. After all, a drive to  improve patient outcomes and the quality of their care is at the basis of healthcare education systems worldwide…

Providing future healthcare workers with the resources to optimize patient care – be that through effective clinical acumen, time management, communication and everything else in between – is the bedrock of a successful healthcare system.

Essentially, simulation sets trainee doctors and nurses up to effectively make people better when they come to practice in real life. In 2012, Benjamin Zendejas (Mayo Medical School, Rochester) set out to prove how far simulation training promotes positive results for patients. The findings were powerful; simulation-based education was shown to be directly linked to patient benefits when compared to both non-simulation-based training and instances where no intervention was given at all. 

Linked to this is the propensity for simulation to reduce patient harm. No clinician wants to inadvertently complicate or worsen a patient’s condition but medical error is the third leading cause of death in hospitals worldwide. With simulation, we are able to reproduce patient care sequences with all the clinical complexities of real life scenarios allowing clinicians to cover all the bases when treating real people. 

Ultimately, simulation-based training produces more competent healthcare professionals which can only be beneficial in improving the quality and safety of patient care. 


2. Simulation inspires confidence

Few on-boarding periods of a new job can be as daunting as starting out as a junior doctor or nurse. Fetching coffees, navigating the intricacies of a Kafkaesque office bureaucracy, whilst remembering not to raid Belinda from Accounts’ personal HobNob stash seem like a walk in the park compared to a 12-hour shift filled with hundreds of patients with complaints ranging from the utterly absurd to the genuinely life-threatening. 

To make matters worse, strained resources, overcrowded hospitals and staff shortages mean that most junior healthcare professionals face much of this without the necessary support.   With simulation, clinicians are able to practice managing acutely unwell patients without causing real patient harm if it goes wrong. In this way, practicing emergency care during training can take the edge off the intimidating world of real life practice.

This is something we’ve been made directly aware of at Oxford Medical Simulation through the roll-out of our virtual reality simulation platform at Oxford University. There, learners told us that, “it’s really good to get the experience of being put in the driver’s seat, of making the decisions…I think it will give me more confidence to make those decisions [in real life]”.


What is more, simulation-based training as been shown to improve junior clincian’s confidence in pushing for improved patient outcomes within real life treatment. Healthcare training is inherently hierarchical and this can often mean that trainees are afraid to speak up when they think a senior colleague is not administering the right kind of treatment. 

In a study carried out by the University of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, simulation was shown to increase the frequency and quality of interventions by Residents in the care suggested by their seniors. 

Simulation can therefore be seen to not only improve patient care by bolstering the doctor or nurses confidence in their individual practice, but also promoting appropriate assertion in challenging a treatment plan when they think there might be a better way. 


3. Simulation lets us learn from our mistakes 

In our personal and professional lives we learn best from the mistakes we make. Cultivating an attitude that embraces mistakes as an inevitable part of life that can be mined for valuable lessons is an effective way to successfully avoid making mistakes in the future. Within the context of healthcare however – where the price of our mistakes can be fatal – this kind of philosophy can be hard to accept. 

In practicing simulation a safe-space is created in which healthcare professionals can refine their clinical skills without the risk of harming real patients. When effective debrief is built into simulation, the learnings taken from this form of training  are invaluable. With learners identifying strengths and areas for improvement in a supportive atmosphere. This is a powerful combination that mitigates against these mistakes being made in real life. 

Further, the emphasis on debrief engenders good habits of self-reflection for trainees to take through their entire professional careers. When clinicians are used to assessing their own practice regularly they are personally assuring the quality of the care they provide. 


4. Simulation works across all healthcare disciplines 

Simulation works effectively across all healthcare domains including; medicine, nursing, paediatrics, mental health, surgery, emergency care, life-saving and more. What is more, simulation surpasses all other training mechanisms in touching the most comprehensive set of skills ranging from specific procedures to communication and teamwork. 

The controlled nature of simulation means that institutions can ensure learners are exposed to as wide a range of clinical presentations as possible to build up depth of knowledge. Stress conditions can be put in place to mirror real life scenarios and test trainees ability to cope under pressure. The debrief that follows these experiences means that learnings are not lost or left open to individual interpretation. 

Simulation is also deliverable across multiple platforms. Mannequin-based simulation has long been used to produce life-like conditions in which learners can practice patient management. Similarly, the use of standardized patients in simulation is effective in creating a true-to-life environment where learners are able to interact with a real person. Increasingly, virtual reality is being used to deliver repeatable, immersive simulation at scale. 


5. Simulation is widely practiced worldwide

We’ve often heard it said that – if you do not work in healthcare – simulation is probably the biggest industry that you’ve never heard of. When you stop to think about it – it makes sense. You wouldn’t expect pilots to fly planes without practicing in simulators first – so why should we expect the people taking care of our health not to do so as well? 

There are hundreds of organisations, institutions and individuals doing wonderful things in simulation across the world.  Organisations such as SSH and ASPiH organise renowned international events like the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) to encourage knowledge sharing and best practice. 

As part of Healthcare Simulation Week, Boston Children’s Hospital hosted a Facebook Live event to give the community insights into how its state-of-the-art paediatric simulation center works. Having run an immeasurably impactful simulation programme for over a decade, BCH has now taken is simulation capabilities on the road. Offering over 50 courses at nine institutions across eastern Massachusetts – its SIM Network initiative shows that simulation best practice can be distributed at scale. 

In the UK, the NHS Diabetes Programme is using simulation to directly impact the treatment of people with Type 1 diabetes. Using the OMS virtual reality simulation platform, doctors are able to practice treatment before they see real life patients. Diabetes treatment can be notoriously tricky and for many doctors the first time they have to manage diabetes-related cases is in real life. Using simulation, the NHS is able to train doctors on the specific complexities to look out for, without compromising the quality of patient care. 

The healthcare team at St Luke’s University, Pennsylvania, have customised a freight truck to serve as a mobile simulation suite. Offering training opportunities across disciplines, people that live in remote areas that once may have been unable to access a healthcare education are now able to access valuable resources to further their careers. In this way, St Luke’s mobile simulation operation is promoting diversity and social mobility in healthcare and beyond.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which simulation is being leveraged to improve healthcare training and education, and in turn, our healthcare systems and standards of patient care. 

Happy Healthcare Simulation Week! 


Oculus Rift S Updates: what do they mean for Virtual Reality simulation? 

Healthcare professional trying out virtual reality medical simulation on the Rift S

For the past few weeks we’ve been avidly testing out the latest Oculus Rift S kit.

The new hardware’s inside-out tracking shows the progression of VR technology and can only mean better, more exciting things for the world of healthcare simulation. 

So, what’s changed? 

The most significant difference between the new Rift S model and its predecessor, the Rift, is that it using inside-out tracking. This means that the sensors now sit inside the headset rather than using a separate desk-mounted sensor as with the original Rift. It has simpler halo-style headband making it easier to put on and the original over ear headphones have been replaced with directional speakers embedded into the headband. 

The screen resolution on the Rift S is slightly higher than previous models and they way the user sets up their guardian fields (ie the area in which you can “play” in VR) has changed. Now operated from entirely within VR, you draw a line to mark out your play area to map it out more precisely. New outward facing cameras on the Rift S headset mean you switch to seeing your real-world surroundings if you move outside of the physical space you’re meant to be in. It’s a clever feature that means you no longer have to worry about bumping into anything or anyone whilst your immersed in the virtual space. 

What do these changes mean for virtual reality simulation? 

In terms of how learners use the OMS simulation platform, the move to the Rift S won’t require you to change anything at all. Whether you’re using a Rift S or and original Rift model, you can still train healthcare professionals using fully immersive VR medical and nursing scenarios as before, and there are some added benefits. 

Firstly, freeing the headset from the external sensors means that the setup is even easier and quicker and the Rift S is smaller, making it even easier to store and transport. Particularly if you are looking for simulation suite that can be used across multiple sites then the Rift S is perfect.

The new guardian set up allows users to take full advantage of the six degrees of freedom (how your movement in the real world matches your movement in the virtual world) in a much simpler format. The guardian system allows you to more easily avoid any fixtures and fittings that might otherwise get in the way and interrupt your immersive experience. Because users can now view their surroundings without coming out of VR – health and safety is assured and the capacity for independent learning of VR simulation is further enhanced. 

In conclusion, in terms of learning outcomes and visual experience, the Rift S offers much the same experience as the original Rift – ie excellent. The improvements made on the Rift S tend to make the practical experience of setting up and implementing simulation simpler with fewer pieces of hardware and the smaller, more transportable kit. All of this means the Rift S continues to allow VR to provide simulation at scale, to deliver all the benefits of OMS VR simulation. 

If you want to try out the OMS VR medical or nursing simulation platform on the Rift S get in touch with one of our Educational Specialists today.


The Joy of VR: what we learned when the leading virtual reality healthcare minds gathered in Los Angeles

We attended the Virtual Medicine conference at Cedars Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles where we joined leaders in the virtual reality healthcare space to discuss the latest developments – and applications – of VR in patient care and medical education.

Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) was proud to join other leading thinkers excited about the potential of virtual reality in healthcare. The Virtual Medicine conference (vMed) brought together not only healthcare professionals, but also researchers, technical developers, business leaders and patients. This made showcasing our virtual reality scenarios for healthcare training during the event all the more special.

As always, we loved getting VR newbies into the system to demo how intuitive VR can be, and it was even more encouraging to get the endorsement of VR experts who live and breath virtual reality in healthcare.

We were excited that when healthcare professionals entered our scenarios for a quick taste they quickly became so immersed that they were determined to save the patient, or delve into the details to find out more. Surprised at the level of realism in one of our virtual patient’s histories, one user at vMed19 announced;

“Whoa! I’m going to ask about his social history! I want to know what kind of recreational drugs he uses.”

Only in Los Angeles!

Besides the kind words about our own platform, we received a fascinating update into the other ways in which VR is impacting healthcare for the better. From helping to manage pain associated with Crohn’s Disease, to facilitating reminiscence therapy in people with dementia, the applications of therapeutic VR just keep growing. Dr David Rhew (Chief Medical Officer at Samsung Electronics America) gave a compelling talk on the effects of VR on people with dementia, loneliness and concussion amongst a host of other applications. In the case of concussions, VR is now proving to be as effective as sleep, exercise and education. Former Cedars Sinai patient Harmon Clarke recalled how meditating and travelling in VR during his hospital stay, instead of relying solely on pain medication, accelerated his recovery from Crohn’s disease.

The Patient Panel on Day 2 was another highlight: the moving accounts of four patients who had experienced therapeutic VR really brought home the positive results that this technology can have.

Research on the efficacy and optimal methods of delivering VR therapy remains in its infancy and is a fascinating topic. The groundbreaking work done by Skip Rizzo on the applications of VR to treat PTSD and anxiety in particular and Mel Slater on VR in cognitive neuroscience and body-swapping keep us pushing the boundaries of what VR can do and how it can deeply affect individuals perceptions and abilities to learn.

Despite the excitement of the forefront on the technology, the ongoing message of matching appropriate immersive content and delivery to the individual’s needs remains central to all VR design. At OMS we couldn’t agree more. We often ask ourselves and others considering virtual reality “what are your learning objectives?” and ensure that everything we design meets a specific need.

Cedars Sinai Medical Centre proved to be a compelling setting for the event, too. Set against the backdrop of one of the largest academic health centres in the US, the discussions, revelations and real life stories felt even more relevant. It almost felt like we – as a global VR in healthcare community – were more galvanised, united and inspired by physically locating us within the system we’re seeking to change.

It was this collective feeling of inspiration and celebration that made vMed19 such an impactful conference. The world’s leading thinkers and innovators in VR medicine came together in one place to share new developments and celebrate success stories, and we left with a boosted motivation to continue our work in the space. Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Research at Cedars Sinai and the driving force behind the vMed conference summed up this feeling best when he offered some uplifting advice in his closing remarks:

“VR offers joy. Leverage that like crazy.”

We couldn’t agree more!


Oxford University uses virtual reality to power blended learning and boost medical student education

Students at Oxford University use virtual reality simulation to augment medical student education.

Blended learning combines traditional learning techniques with interactive, digital resources to optimise student engagement. This practice can be particularly effective within the context of medical education – where students are required to absorb vast amounts of complex practical and conceptual knowledge. With this in mind, Oxford Medical Simulation’s platform has been designed to complement in-classroom teaching methods with cutting edge virtual reality simulation to take medical students’ learning to the next level.

Medical students at Oxford University have been using our simulation software at the OxSTaR centre to effectively combine learning techniques. Blending the use of our platform with conventional lectures, learners have followed in-classroom study by cementing their practical and clinical skills in VR. Users at Oxford told us that:

“As a learning experience, pairing the VR with a lecture beforehand worked well – the VR was an opportunity to consolidate and put the learning into practice.”

Differentiated learning is not a radically new concept in medical training and education – students have traditionally supported their theoretical studies with physical, mannequin-based simulation. However, it’s not uncommon for medical students to get access to a physical simulation session as little as once in an academic year. What is exciting about how Oxford University is using our virtual reality simulation platform is the immediate nature of learning theory in the lecture hall and then instantly – and seamlessly – applying that learning within a simulated scenario.

The upshot of embedding virtual reality simulation into medical training is improved learner confidence and transfer of learning to practice. Because the simulation software is readily accessible, students can repeat scenarios as many times as they need to build confidence. This is crucial to priming learners to enter the hospital environment. The medical students at Oxford University recognise how VR simulation will help them prepare for real-life situations:

“It’s really good to get the experience of being put in the driver’s seat, making the decisions and then following through with the management. As a medical student, there is a lot of standing around watching people do things. You tell yourself that you would make those decisions, but it’s nice to actually practice making the decisions. I think it will give me more confidence to make those decisions in real life.”

It’s encouraging to see students responding to virtual reality simulation with virtual patients in such a positive way. Providing readily available, scalable and accessible learning content that transforms learning and, ultimately, real-life practice, is built into the design of our platform. Oxford Medical Simulation will be keeping up the good work with Oxford University and leading institutions to bring this experience to learners around the world.