STEP-VR - training for medical emergencies using virtual reality
Emergency medicine and the ability to cope with critical incidents in everyday clinical routine work require practical knowledge, an ability to carry out triage of patients, and efficient self-organization. Studies have identified a lack of these skills among the majority of medical graduates, and this may lead to psychological stress and even increase the risk of malpractice for physicians starting their careers.
Together with ThreeDee GmbH, a startup company for 3D visualization, we have developed a training simulation system for medical students, combining the strengths of the latest virtual reality devices with real-time dynamic physiology: STEP-VR. In a true-to-life hospital environment, medical students and young physicians can use the system to acquire practical knowledge and gain self-confidence by treating virtual emergency patients. The program offers multiple levels of feedback, based on both official guidelines and authentically responding patient physiology. Supervision and subsequent evaluation by a mentor can also ensure a thorough understanding of critical situations.
In October 2019, the prototype for STEP-VR was awarded the “2019 Digital Gastroenterology Innovation Prize” by the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Verdauungs- und Stoffwechselkrankheiten, DGVS). In collaboration with the Institute of Medical Teaching and Education Research at the University of Würzburg and with our academic partners (the universities of Ulm and Leipzig), we are evaluating and implementing this VR training system as a complementary course for students to take during their internship year in early 2020.