Design and development of an immersive virtual reality team trainer for advance cardiac life support
Technology in the modern day has ensured that learning of skills and behavior may be both widely disseminated and cheaply available. An example of this is the concept of virtual reality (VR) training. Virtual Reality training ensures that learning can be provided often, in a safe simulated setting, and it may be delivered in a manner that makes it engaging while negating the need to purchase special equipment. This thesis presents a case study in the form of a time critical, team based medical scenario known as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). A framework and methodology associated with the design of a VR trainer for ACLS is detailed. In addition, in order to potentially provide an engaging experience, the simulator was designed to incorporate immersive elements and a multimodal interface (haptic, visual, and auditory). A study was conducted to test two primary hypotheses namely: a meaningful transfer of skill is achieved from virtual reality training to real world mock codes and the presence of immersive components in virtual reality leads to an increase in the performance gained. The participant pool consisted of 54 clinicians divided into 9 teams of 6 members each. The teams were categorized into three treatment groups: immersive VR (3 teams), minimally immersive VR (3 teams), and control (3 teams). The study was conducted in 4 phases from a real world mock code pretest to assess baselines to a 30 minute VR training session culminating in a final mock code to assess the performance change from the baseline. The minimally immersive team was treated as control for the immersive components. The teams were graded, in both VR and mock code sessions, using the evaluation metric used in real world mock codes. The study revealed that the immersive VR groups saw greater performance gain from pretest to posttest than the minimally immersive and control groups in case of the VFib/VTach scenario (~20% to ~5%). Also the immersive VR groups had a greater performance gain than the minimally immersive groups from the first to the final session of VFib/VTach (29% to -13%) and PEA (27% to 15%).