With more and more students facing uncertainties around tuition for online courses and the remote learning environments as we embark on the Fall 2020 school year, how can educators, particularly in fields that require off-the-page educational experiences (such as medicine) deliver an improved student experience?
Dane Axelgard, VP Sales, North America at GIGXR, outlined how and why immersive learning is more vital than ever for healthcare training in 2020 in his presentation for the “Your Guide to Virtual Reality Healthcare Applications, Products and Services” virtual conference, co-hosted by IVRHA and BehaVR this past month.
Ensuring Quality in Remote Education
Extended Reality (XR) allows students to learn in lifelike environments. Going beyond Virtual Reality (VR), which immerses users in a fully digital world, which can lead to latency issues and dizziness for some users, and Augmented Reality (AR), which superimposes digital images onto real environments but is limited in scope, XR allows students and faculty to master critical skills in an accurate simulation.
GIGXR’s flagship products, HoloHuman and HoloPatient, answer a vital need in 2020: access to high-quality educational content both on and off campus.
A newly-developed remote platform allows students to join classes from any device. Axelgard calls that experience “2.5D.” It allows students to follow the instructor and see exactly what they are doing, including, for example, labeling a medical condition on the standardized holographic patient or showing a disease progression.
The programs were previously only accessible on the Microsoft Hololens platform. Expanding them to be available on multiple devices enables students to continue progressing in their training while learning at home or in other remote settings due to COVID-19.
Mimicking Real-World Clinical Scenarios
One of the key advantages of XR in healthcare training is that it allows students to explore anatomy (via HoloHuman) and analyze pathologies (via HoloPatient) in a realistic way. For example, if a student has a question about placement for intramuscular injections, HoloHuman allows the instructor to superimpose the hologram “person” over the student to help them understand how to find the correct location.
It’s even more important for learning diagnostics. Being able to “see” how common pathologies present usually requires hiring an actor to portray the patient and a make-up artist to simulate externally visible conditions, such as trauma. COVID-19 has made that impractical in most cases, not to mention that it is a time-consuming and expensive process to begin with.
HoloPatient not only shows patient actors displaying symptoms of pathologies from COPD to skin burns, but allows instructors to manipulate the patient’s vital signs and show disease progressions. That is especially important for students to learn to recognize when a patient is deteriorating and be able to make quick, accurate judgements about urgent treatment needed in critical situations.
Advancements for Treating Conditions
GIGXR’s recently released HoloPatient’s COVID-19 simulation app lets students and medical professionals get a look at the visual and clinical presentation of the novel coronavirus and shows disease progression from mild symptoms to a severe case just shy of the patient needing a ventilator. As medical staff worldwide grapple with understanding and treating this disease, XR is a vital tool to give them much-needed knowledge.
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