The UK’s National Health Service, the UK’s national public health care provider, trains thousands of healthcare assistants, nurses, and doctors every year and employs some 1.5 million people, making it a top five employer globally. As a result, the NHS is constantly searching for better ways to train their employees and achieve better learning results. One problem they identified was that certain subject areas were challenging for learners using conventional training methods, which are both costly and time consuming. They needed a solution that would accelerate knowledge transfer of key subject areas, reduce costs, and improve the number of people who can be exposed to training.
Traditional training methods using subject matter experts is costly, time consuming, and has a limit on the number of people that can be exposed to such training. With such a large number of employees, a new take on training was needed that encouraged individual learning and “flipped classroom” style learning.
3D PROBLEMS, 2D LEARNING
Complex medical subject matter is poorly illustrated and in standard teaching materials. Also, healthcare professionals and students often struggle with conventional imagery and two-dimensional diagrams when trying to understand complex scenarios.
EON Reality was selected by the NHS to develop three interactive, tablet based applications with Augmented Reality functionality to cover three difficult-to-teach topics: Breech Birth (Obstetrics), Chest/Lung Emergencies, and Sepsis awareness/identification. These apps were designed to be used both in the ward or in a classroom and then used as a “take-away” application loaded on the trainee’s device for off-site review and reinforcement of the learning objective. Together with NHS’s doctors, surgeons, and other subject matter experts, EON Reality created applications that illustrated the differences between several lung and heart conditions, three types of breech birth conditions, and a diagnostic tool to help identify sepsis in patients.
IMPROVED TRAINING, LOWER COSTS
AR applications are ideal ways to better illustrate complex concepts. Trainees no longer have to visualize the two dimensional subject matter in 3D, the subject matter in question is represented, as it is in practice, right in front of them. While it does not replace traditional simulation, trainees can now practice without the need for individual mannequins or subject matter experts using AR. This reduces the cost, but also the man hours needed to qualify trainees.
Unlike traditional classroom teaching aids, AR applications allow trainees to manipulate the subject matter as they needed to gain the proper insights. Through engaging and interactive materials the training is remembered longer, completed quicker, and results in better on the job decision making. For subjects such as Breech Births, Chest Emergencies, and Sepsis, quickly recognizing these conditions is important to proper treatment and patient health.
These applications are used regularly across the NHS in both clinical and non-clinical teaching contexts, supporting faster learning with powerful visuals and anatomical models – a real boon for busy doctors, nurses, consultants, and their trainees.
“These applications really grasp people’s imaginations with the potential for the future. Healthcare is always looking to make the best of developmental work – these apps are used every day, and provide ongoing learning opportunities.” Mark Hellaby M.Ed, PGCert, BSc (Hons), RODP, FHEA, FCODP, North West Simulation Education Network Manager and Honorary Senior Lecturer (UCLAN)