Conversation starter: Griselda Goldsborough (York Teaching Hospital)
Griselda’s experience of working with teams who work in end of life care, made her wonder if there was any way virtual reality (VR) could be used to revisit old favourite places or memories. Are there any other ways we can use VR creatively in health and care settings?
The answer seemed to be a resounding “yes!” particularly from two members of the group who work in UX for Health Education England. They have experience of commissioning VR projects in healthcare settings.
Their first example was working with a trust in Torbay to rehabilitate a patient who was partially paralysed. He was a keen cyclist, so the team created a film of one of his routes, then using VR and a specially adapted bike, the patient could ‘cycle’ along his normal route using just his hands. The project was a success.
With regards to practitioners, Nick Perez was mentioned, a former cameraman doing great work in VR. However it should be noted that his availability is currently limited to one day a week due to other projects.
Griselda asked how long these projects usually take to complete? We learned that it really depends what the scope is. Complex projects can take some time. For example, a VR experience that allows you to approach a road traffic accident as various different emergency services, respond, have conversations etc requires the creation of multiple perspectives and timelines. It would take much longer than Griselda’s proposed trip to the seaside, for example.
Discussion turned to other ways we might use VR for training staff. We learned about VR experiences that allow users to go into the homes of elderly people, play out a normal interaction with the patient whilst looking for areas of concern (e.g. empty fridge, lightbulb not replaced). It’s a great way to help people learn how to spot signposts in a more visual, realistic way.
There is a huge uptake of VR technology and demand is increasing. It’s very tempting to embark on a VR project as it’s such exciting tech. However, we need to assess the value carefully. What are the learning outcomes? Could they be achieved just as well in other ways? Or will the VR technology enable you to achieve even better results?