“Earlier debates about whether or not simulation is effective have been superseded by discussions of how it can best be embedded, supported and funded” (Kneebone, 2016)

Simulation works

A wealth of evidence shows that simulation training is “superior to traditional clinical education producing powerful educational interventions that yield immediate and lasting results.”(1)

It is effective in training undergrads,(2) postgrads and faculty,(3works in all domains: life-saving,(4) clinical skills(5,6) and communication skills;(7) and is well-liked by learners and teachers.(8)

Most importantly it has positive impact on patients,(9) reducing patient harm(10) and improving quality of care independent of condition.(11,12Simulation is now “firmly established as a central constituent of healthcare education.”(13)

why virtual reality?

Compared to screen-based learning, the greater immersion provided by virtual reality significantly enhances learning performance in medical simulation(14,15and only the sense of presence offered by immersive virtual reality leads to true learning from experience.(16) 

This power has positioned VR as vital teaching tool in multiple fields, including aviation, oil, shipping, and the military.(17) In fact, the aviation industry credits VR-based education as a major contributor to a nearly 50% reduction in human error-related airline crashes since the 1970s.(18)

VR SIMULATION IN HEALTH IS EVIDENCE-BASED

Virtual reality simulation has been widely adopted in surgical training where it has been shown to “decrease injury, increase speed of operations and improve overall outcomes.”(19) The same is true in medicine where “virtual reality simulations can bridge the gap between theory and practice by immersing the learner in a realistic, dynamic, complex setting.”(20)

It can teach clinicians complex procedures,(21) is effective in CPR training,(22) can improve communication skills,(23) enhance critical thinking(24) and improve clinical decision-making.(25)

VR is a cost-effective solution

As well as being an effective teaching method, sim “can improve patient safety and reduce healthcare costs through the improvement of the medical provider’s competencies.”(26) For example, VR simulation has been shown to reduce cost and improve safety in advanced life support training,(27) “increasing safety, visibility, and reproducibility of actions as well as reducing costs.”(28)

Therefore, “though the development costs can be high, the expected revenue, in terms of better patient care and prevention of error, provides a decisive argument for investing in such development.”(29)