Virtual reality training to help NHS doctors spot signs of sepsis

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Approximately 48,000 deaths in the UK occur from sepsis every year

The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with the training platform, Goggleminds, to train staff and students to spot the signs and symptoms of sepsis.

Clinical research fellows at the Trust have worked to develop training scenarios using immersive simulation for sepsis, asthma and anaphylaxis.

Sepsis, responsible for approximately 48,000 deaths every year in the UK, is a life-threatening reaction to an infection that causes the immune system to overreact and damage the body’s own tissues and organs.

The training platform uses virtual reality (VR) via immersive headsets to enable more doctors to be trained outside hospital training rooms.

Goggleminds draws on and supports research from the University of Bath, which tested the effectiveness of the platform, with results published in the Journal of Visual Communications in Medicine.

“This new VR simulation addresses this challenge by enabling doctors to train experientially in a safe and realistic environment without endangering patients,” said professor Richard Joiner, department of psychology, University of Bath.

Currently, the Trust is the only health organisation in the region to be loaned platform equipment and is using it to teach its medical students from Oxford University.

Dr Chris Jacobs, undergraduate tutor at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Using this technology… is helping to upskill our staff and students to get the early identification of sepsis for our patients.”

Additionally, the UK Sepsis Trust has praised the use of the platform for helping doctors and students learn key skills for identifying sepsis.

Dr Ron Daniels, founder and joint chief executive officer of the UK Sepsis Trust, said: The challenge facing health professionals working in a pressured NHS environment is that it can be very difficult to spot.

“Goggleminds…[adds] a further dimension to our sepsis educational resources through virtual reality – training which sticks in the mind saves lives.”

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