A Welsh virtual reality company has teamed up with Swansea University and Hywel Dda University Health Board to deliver pioneering healthcare training.
The University and the health board have selected Rescape, a Cardiff-based company, to deliver a series of bespoke VR training modules in both English and Welsh as part of £900,000 Higher Education Funding Council of Wales project Virtual Reality a Welsh Reality
The project places Swansea University, its partners and Wales at the cutting edge of new technologies to deliver solutions that make the NHS safer, utilise resources more effectively, support flexible and innovative training as well as making strides towards net zero.
Head of Simulation, Associate Professor Joanne Davies, is the principle investigator of the VRWR project and leads SUSIM, the University’s specialist centre and programme to develop groundbreaking simulation and immersive education.
She said: “We’re excited to be working with Rescape and Imersifi, they are passionate and knowledgeable about virtual reality with a track record of delivering impactful VR training.
“Their experience and expertise will enhance our ability to train individuals and teams in an immersive, engaging, and flexible way. It is more relevant than ever to help break the boundaries of when and where education can occur, especially with current pressures on all parts of the service.
“I am also delighted that some of our previous Swansea University students are involved in this amazing project for healthcare education.”
Rescape CEO Kevin Moss said: “There is an amazing ecosystem developing in South Wales around VR and AR technologies and it’s exciting to see the area flourishing and delivering on its potential. Virtual reality is a transformative technology, this project is the start of a new way to train the next generation of healthcare specialists.
“The significant pressures facing the NHS are well documented as is the shortfall in capacity for training staff and new technologies like VR must be embraced if we want to start solving these issues.”
Rescape has already worked successfully with the University to deliver the VR tracheostomy training for Cardiff and Vale Health Board. The team are now set to publish the results of a randomised controlled trial which showed that VR training had comparable learning outcomes to traditional training - with the added benefit of reducing the carbon footprint significantly contributing to the drive for net zero.
Joe Charman, of Imersifi, said: “As co-founders of Imersifi and graduates of Swansea University, Jack Bengeyfield and I are excited about our partnership with Rescape to deliver these cutting-edge healthcare training modules. We are delighted to be bringing our expertise in virtual reality training and simulations to this project, working closely with the team at the University and their esteemed experts. The project will empower future healthcare professionals with the hands-on experience they need to provide the highest level of care to patients.”
Mr Moss added: “In the past year we’ve seen a huge uplift in interest in the use of virtual reality in healthcare and we are entering a new period where the technology is maturing rapidly. Projects like this will grow knowledge quickly and deliver best-in-class solutions.
“It’s thrilling to work with the world-class SUSIM team and combine their academic rigour and knowledge with our creative skills and proven success in creating VR training.”