Virtual reality training helps spot sepsis signs

Staff and students at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are being taught how to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis, using virtual reality technology drawing on research from the University of Bath.

Clinical Teaching Fellows at the Trust have worked with training platform Goggleminds, to develop training scenarios using immersive simulation concerning sepsis, asthma, and anaphylaxis.

The Trust is the only health organisation in the region to have been loaned this equipment by Goggleminds and is currently using it to teach its medical students from Oxford University.

The headsets place doctors and medical students in an immersive environment, using virtual reality headsets and augmented reality to simulate treating patients.

This approach has been tested by a team from the University of Bath, with their findings into its effectiveness recently published in the Journal of Visual Communication & Medicine.

48,000 people every year die from sepsis, and this work has been praised by the UK Sepsis Trust for helping doctors and students learn key skills for identifying this life-threatening condition.

This technology also allows more doctors to be taught outside of hospital training rooms and in smaller numbers increasing efficiency.

Dr Chris Jacobs, Undergraduate Tutor to medical students at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and a recent graduate of the University of Bath’s Doctor of Medicine programme, said:

“The great thing about being able to place students and junior doctors in an immersive environment using this technology is that it can be used outside of ward areas, and it is helping to upskill our staff and students, to get the early identification of sepsis for our patients.“

Watch a short video about how VR is being used to improve sepsis diagnosis here