SimX Expands Partnership with US Air Force for VR Medical Simulation COVID-19 Training
SimX, which recently won the 2020 EMS World Innovation Award, announced yesterday an expanded partnership with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to develop operational medical training systems through their virtual reality (VR) medical simulation platform. In this article, we take a closer look at the partnership’s initial efforts which will focus on expanding existing clinical simulation capabilities for training frontline COVID-19 healthcare workers. And good news for the healthcare simulation community, two of the already developed VR cases are open access and free to download now!
Recognizing the urgent need for education and training to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, the new $1 million Virtual Advancement of Learning and Operational Readiness (VALOR) program will also allow for military adaptation of SimX cases focused on the evaluation and management of COVID-19. Currently, the civilian version of these cases can be downloaded and used free of charge by any hospital or training program with Oculus Quest or HTC Vive devices at the SimX COVID-19 Training Cases Page.
This project was made possible through the highly competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct to Phase II program, in collaboration with AFWERX, a team of innovation specialists within the USAF, and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the primary scientific research and development center for the Air Force.
USAF Col. John R. Dorsch, DO, Wing Surgeon of the 24th Special Operations Wing (SOW), and USAF Pararescue Medical Director shared that “the VALOR program will increase overall medical capability and improve survival rates in US, Coalition, and partner force combat casualties.” He continued that “these capabilities are critical for ensuring that the highest level of combat trauma and austere medical care are provided by the 24th SOW’s special operations ground forces.”
Led by CEO Ryan Ribeira MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician and assistant professor at Stanford Medical School, SimX offers this advanced simulation tool at a fraction of the cost of other simulation manikins. SimX’s innovative virtual reality simulation in healthcare platform is used around the world and by top institutions including Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Northwestern, University of Pennsylvania, and many others. SimX allows trainees to work together in multiplayer virtual reality cases either together in the same space or from the safety of their own homes.
SimX’s unique system allows for a “holodeck-like” experience without dropdown menus or virtual selections. Learners talk with and interact with virtual patients the same way that they would in real life. The scalable SimX Scenario System allows for very rapid development of new training materials and cases, and instant deployment to all learners.
SimX’s software allows the user to reproduce patient presentations with unprecedented visual fidelity. This virtual patient can be used to represent physical signs and symptoms such as obesity, pregnancy, youth, geriatrics, vomiting, missing limbs, bleeding and a number of others.
Another feature of the SimX system is that the simulation software allows multiple trainees to work around the same virtual patient completely wirelessly. Learners can be in the same physical space or across the world from one another — yet working simultaneously. Able to be set up in less than 5 minutes, the system can turn any space into a simulation center in just moments.
Adding to user convenience, the SimX system is built from the ground up to be compatible with all major VR headsets. Whether on the HTC Vive or Oculus Quest, SimX functions seamlessly in ultra realistic high definition. Cases can be designed in VR or AR so the learner can train in the space where they work best.
Within the virtual learning program learners can walk freely around an up to 30x30ft space. So this system allows for multiple participants to walk around the same large space, simultaneously working together to care for multiple patients, as is featured in their mass casualty or multi-trauma scenarios.
Lance Baily, BA, EMT-B, is the Founder & CEO of HealthySimulation.com, which he started while serving as the Director of the Nevada System of Higher Education’s Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas back in 2010. Lance is also the Founder and acting Advisor to the Board of SimGHOSTS.org, the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated to supporting professionals operating healthcare simulation technologies. His new co-edited Book: “Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Operations, Technology, and Innovative Practice” is available now. Lance’s background also includes serving as a Simulation Technology Specialist for the LA Community College District, EMS fire fighting, Hollywood movie production, rescue diving, and global travel. He lives with his wife Abigail in Las Vegas, Nevada.