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Oxford Medical Simulation-Leveraging the Metaverse to Train Clinicians

The Driver:

Oxford Medical Simulation, a UK-based startup, recently raised $2.4 million for its virtual reality (VR) based healthcare training company. Oxford uses VR simulation based on hundreds of AI-controlled patient scenarios for training. The funding round was led by ACF investors and private investor Dr.Nicolaus Henke, the former chairman and former CEO of McKinsey’s global healthcare practice. This additional funding will help to grow and expand their services across the world so many more healthcare professionals may be trained on their equipment. The funding will help to provide realistic training using simulation to medical professionals like nurses and doctors, to help better patients' health and well-being.

Key Takeaways:

  • According to the Association for Talent Development, healthcare workers spend 34% less time on training a year than other industries.

  • Nurse shortages are predicted to hit 1.1 million by the end of 2022, per the American Hospital Association

  • The elderly population is expected to grow from 54M in 2019 to about 80M in 2050 with a commensurate demand for increased healthcare services, putting further strain on the healthcare system according to HHS

  • The healthcare system is expected to need 445K home health aides, 29K nurse practitioners, 95K certified nursing assistants, and over 98K medical/lab technologists and technicians by 2025 based on data from Mercer.

The Story:

Oxford Medical Simulation was founded in the U.K, in 2017 by Michael Wallace and Jack Cotton. Their simulation software uses a VR model simulation mixed with artificially intelligent patients in order to train practitioners on different scenarios. Not only does this allow clinicians to see different conditions, but It also allows healthcare workers to train in various situations like emergencies, procedural, patient management, and mandatory exercises. The company is using its training to help address the growing shortage of healthcare workers on a global basis while simultaneously decreasing the time it takes to train newly hired staff. This is increasingly necessary as we seek to address the workforce shortage brought on by an aging healthcare workforce, increased demand from an aging population combined with an increase in chronic diseases among this older population.

Oxford’s mission is to offer productive, streamlined training for incoming healthcare professionals to improve the result of interventions and the quality of outcomes. In addition, according to an article in explorebit, studies by the NHS have shown “that pressures resulting from these [workforce] shortages will also compromise the competency of newly trained staff, worsening the situation”.

The Differentiator:

Not only does Oxford’s product offer more realistic training scenarios, but it can also deliver them at a faster rate and more cost-effectively than traditional training. For example, according to the company, overhead is significantly higher for mannequin-based simulation which can cost approximately $400 just to deliver a single simulation. Using the company’s technology, students can access libraries of medical emergencies that allow them to simulate the management of conditions such as sepsis, heart attacks, diabetic emergencies, seizures, and anaphylaxis.

In addition to being cost-effective, immersive VR is instantly scalable, allowing institutions to deliver more simulation experiences to their learners more efficiently. For example, while conventional training centers deliver 200 simulations per month, Oxford’s VR-based training can deliver up to 6,000 per month. Because VR simulation is repeatable and can be used without faculty supervision –engaging clinical experiences can be provided using fewer valuable resources.

The Bigger Picture:

Oxford Medical Simulation's intention is to help medical and healthcare hospitals, centers, and companies deliver exceptional care with the help of their platform which uses simulation to transform the way we look at training in healthcare. By speeding up the process through AI services, new healthcare staff members are able to utilize and learn through non-invasive and simulated methods where there is no danger to patient safety or life. This enables clinicians who normally would be required to be taken away from patient care to remain focused on patients while enabling students to learn or relearn certain techniques without the direct supervision of a clinician.

Tools like OMS will be sorely needed to help address the workforce shortage in healthcare. For example, according to an article from the Keck School of Medicine at USC, 34 % of nurses reported saying that they would be leaving their jobs by the end of 2022 and 44% of nurses stated that burnout and stress were the reasons behind their choices. With the help of Oxford, they can help provide some relief and ease burnout by alleviating some of the stress of additional hours required to train new staff while burned out and understaffed. The need for new staff to be properly trained is more urgent now than ever and will only worsen in the near future as healthcare continues to lose staff.


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