AAMI News July 2018

Virtual Reality Offers Solution to Real-World Training Challenges

Virtual reality demonstration
GE demonstrates its VR technology on the AAMI 2018 Expo floor.

With the influx of new technologies into the healthcare environment, the need for a wide range of troubleshooting skills is increasing rapidly. However, sending staff for hands-on vendor training can be cost prohibitive for many healthcare technology management departments.

For Connecticut-based Hartford HealthCare, virtual reality (VR) training provided at its facility was a solution to this challenge, offering realistic telemetry troubleshooting in a stress-free environment and providing a more cost-effective alternative to off-site vendor training.

“You feel like you’ve been there before,” said Michael Ballintyn, a clinical engineer for Hartford HealthCare, referring to the effectiveness of the VR training in preparing him for real-world telemetry troubleshooting scenarios.

On-site telemetry training is generally hindered by highly regulated frequency ranges, explained Rick Sidlo, education manager for technical training at GE Healthcare. Creating a virtual world independent of actual patients and telemetry systems helps bypass potential challenges. Still, it remains realistic and allows for interaction among devices, as well as a personalized educational experience.

“The training allows you to simulate cause and effect, or the emotional experience of troubleshooting these complex systems,” said Ballintyn. “I found it beneficial and calming to interact with the system in the virtual room experience. You can test out different approaches and know that they won’t actually be disruptive. You’re not going to be able to ‘blow up’ anything.”