Immersive teaching could save the NHS £142 million per year
Techforce19 challenge, a government-funded research group, has found that carers who receive training via immersive digital technology, such as VR, can improve understanding of infection control measurers by 76 per cent and retention of health and safety guidelines increases by 230 per cent.
As part of the study, carers at Southmead NHS Hospital and Torbay NHS Hospital with no prior experiences were provided with training on handwashing, donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE), and responding to an unresponsive patient (including resuscitation).
Half the group received their training via bespoke simulations provided by tech start-up Virti, accessed via their smartphones. The other half, the control group, were provided with the standard education articles and videos provided in normal training.
Results from the test showed that only 16 per cent of the control group were deemed to have an adequate understanding of infection control measures, compared to 92 per cent of the intervention group. A health economics study revealed estimated savings of £1,898 per carer per year on the cost of training, which conservatively is an estimated collective saving of £142 million per year.
Not only has the intervention group had higher levels of retention, but the carers also reported lower levels of anxiety in relation to handling Covid-19 scenarios. Results such as these highlights the need for effective, scalable, and safely accessible training for all carers.
Dr Alex Young, NHS surgeon and the founder of Virti, said: “The impact of digital, immersive training when it comes to knowledge retention and in reducing anxiety is evident from the findings of this study. We hope it starts a conversation around how we can better prepare the workforce for the future and for the challenges employees in any sector face. ”
About the Test
The non-blind randomised control interventional study recruited 50 volunteers and carers as defined by NHS commissioning who had not previously received PPE training.
The pre and post-training test was a multiple choice question test focusing on knowledge retention of the key steps in each scenario as outlined by the step-by-step process of teaching donning/doffing, hand washing and CPR, mapped to the steps set out in national guidelines.