How Virtual Collaboration Impacts Team Training in Healthcare

27 May 2022

Virtual collaboration (VC) brings together individual medical providers from separate physical locations into a single virtual environment — allowing them to receive medical team training in healthcare.

There are several types and methods by which healthcare teams can receive VC training. Not all types are suitable for all training scenarios. There are best practices for collaboration when healthcare teams are training with various virtual reality (VR) methods.

The learning and practice that medical teams need to become proficient is often limited by traditional approaches.

Healthcare VC training with SimX can make medical scenario training more real and immersive than a basic classroom setting. In addition, SimX offers additional benefits such as cost-effectiveness and user-friendliness.

Using VC for team training in healthcare can translate to better medical team performance. Research shows that when healthcare providers function as an effective team, patient safety increases, as does the overall quality of healthcare.

Types of Virtual Team Training

Before any virtual team healthcare training begins, a needs assessment is essential for structuring the team training. A needs assessment allows presenters and organizers to tailor the training content specifically to the kind of healthcare team involved in the training session.

For example, a team of nurses may need to virtually practice their life support skills for patients. A needs assessment uncovers this need. Then, the training organizer can select a type of VC team training that addresses this need. This allows the nurses to practice their life support skills, improve their team performance, and serve their patients more effectively in the future.

According to the research, hospitals frequently use these types of training for their virtual collaboration:

  • Information-based
  • Demonstration-based
  • Practice-based

Information-based Training

Information-based training is one of the most simple types of VC training. A presenter typically uses this type to impart new knowledge and introduce novel material to the team. Facilitators often use audio and video clips, along with group discussions to help better engage the virtual team. Information-based virtual training is low cost and readily available to large audiences. The greatest challenge to overcome with this type of virtual training is that the team can become passive during the session.

Demonstration-based Training

Demonstration-based team training usually involves a learner watching someone carry out a task. This may involve a first responder showing students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a virtual environment.

Observation is key to human learning, especially in a group. The brain is wired to observe and then convert it into action. When a learner can virtually watch another person perform a task, they can model this action and learn the technique themselves.

Practice-based Training

Practice-based virtual team training in healthcare allows the team to apply what they have learned in a virtual environment. There is often a gap between what healthcare teams learn in the classroom and the essential tasks they need to perform daily for their patients. Practice-based virtual team training helps to bridge that gap, allowing for multidisciplinary teams of healthcare providers to become proficient at carrying out their job duties.

This type of virtual training may involve the team going through a simulation online together. An example may be a group of pediatricians practicing a procedure on a kidney dialysis patient — all while in a virtual setting.

Methods of Virtual Team Training

There are many VC methods available for team training in healthcare. Medical research has investigated the use of VC to train teams of nurses, emergency medical service (EMS) professionals, medical students, medical residents, physicians, undergraduate medical students and medical technicians.

Research studies exploring VC to train these healthcare teams has focused on several methods, including:

  • Virtual reality simulation
  • Immersive virtual reality
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Video-based serious game (SG)

Many of these methods fit well into the VC training types discussed above. For example, healthcare teams can receive information, demonstration, or practice-based training using either immersive virtual reality, mixed reality, or augmented reality.

Virtual Reality Simulation

Virtual reality (VR) simulation allows healthcare teams to be immersed in a 3D visual setting together. The simulation is real time, so a full healthcare team can train simultaneously.

Similar to a traditional lab or classroom, an instructor can use VR simulation to present information, then demonstrate a healthcare skill such as a surgical technique. Then, healthcare teams can practice their skills together virtually.

Even though healthcare teams may be in completely separate physical locations, they can train together in the same simulation scenario.

SimX offers a world class VR training curriculum for first responders. This allows them to practice their essential skills in a virtual environment — so they can be calm and decisive in the real world.

Immersive Virtual Reality

Immersive virtual reality (VR) engages a person in an artificial environment. However, the scenario appears real enough so that the healthcare team can feel like it is in that actual environment.

Experts typically view immersive VR on a scale from less immersive to completely immersive. The point is that when using immersive VR, the environment needs to feel real enough for healthcare teams to engage, learn, and practice their medical skills.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is often used interchangeably with the term mixed reality. The basic function of AR is to add virtual features over real visuals and environments. AR blends these digital and actual realities into a single experience for the user.

Healthcare teams can train using AR by having audio or visual features added to what they are already experiencing. This can enhance the training environment, for example, a CPR virtual skills training, giving nurses the extra tools they need to master their skills and better serve their patients.

Video-based Serious Game (SG)

The main purpose of a serious game (SG) is for teaching and learning, rather than for sheer entertainment. Although many industries — such as defense, engineering, politics, and city planning — use SG, this method of VC is also ideal for the healthcare industry.

Healthcare teams can collaborate using SG for simulations to practice their medical skills. An example of this is a group of nurses using an SG simulation to virtually practice proper airway insertion techniques for patients.

Benefits of Virtual Collaboration Team Training

VC team training in healthcare offers several benefits when compared to normal in-person training.

First, VC team training allows for effective collaboration across the globe. Since VR allows for multiple healthcare team members to join the same simulation from multiple locations, the inherent separation from physical distance is no longer a factor.

VC team training allows for multidisciplinary teams to come together. The healthcare VR offerings from SimX allow medical professionals across the spectrum to collaborate as part of one cohesive team. Using VR capabilities, scenarios where physicians, nurses, and pharmacists train together are now a reality. When healthcare teams can train together in a coordinated fashion, this boosts team performance.

Another benefit of VC team training is cost effectiveness. Simulation centers embedded with a single nursing or medical school require a large up-front investment. In contrast, SimX can develop VR team training capabilities at a fraction of the cost.

Lastly, VC healthcare team training from SimX is highly user-friendly. SimX offers wireless, multiplayer systems, which give the healthcare training team more physical movement ability. This is key when simulating a vital medical procedure between multiple healthcare providers simultaneously. SimX offers cloud-based educational content, so it is available anywhere, anytime.

Virtual Collaboration for Team Training: Best Practices

Although someone may assume that each type of virtual collaboration works well in any scenario, there are in fact best practices when it comes to team training in healthcare. These best practices are the most effective way to use the three types of virtual collaboration for healthcare team training.

When a presenter or training organizer uses only one type of virtual collaboration, this leads to less effective healthcare team performance. Using more than one type of virtual collaboration is far more helpful for the healthcare team.

Combining the types of virtual collaboration for team training is called the blended learning approach. This approach offers healthcare team training using a variety of VC types over a longer period of time. This helps boost healthcare team performance overall.

An example using the blended learning approach for virtual team training in healthcare looks like this: a group of surgeons watches a training video together online, creating an emotional connection to their technique; then they join a virtual surgical room where they practice their technique as one cohesive team. This example combines information and demonstration-based team learning (watching the training video) with practice-based team training (virtually practicing their surgical technique together as a team).

SimX, the Most Advanced VR Platform on the Planet

SimX is passionate about team training in healthcare. SimX knows that improving communication in healthcare teams leads to better medical team performance.

VR simulation training for healthcare teams is more immersive and realistic than the typical classroom environment. SimX is both cost-effect and user-friendly. By maximizing both cost and time, SimX helps healthcare institutions improve their medical crew resource management.

SimX is confident that it can provide any medical team with the world-class training it needs to improve healthcare outcomes and increase patient safety.

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