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NYC Health + Hospitals introduces new VR technology to OB simulation training

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New York City Health + Hospitals has introduced new virtual reality (VR) technology to its course library of obstetrics (OB) simulation training.

This was disclosed in a statement on Thursday June 16, 2022.

According to the statement, the innovative VR healthcare simulations will detect and successfully address rare but life-threatening health conditions that can present during labor and delivery.

The new VR technology will complement the training OB providers, including attendings, midwives, physician assistants, and residents, received from in-person training to experience simulated life-like scenarios through a VR headset, improving competencies and promoting knowledge retention at their convenience during shifts.

The new VR OB training technology builds on the municipal health care system’s commitment to combatting maternal mortality disparities present among people of color, often perpetuated by implicit bias.

“We must do right by all expecting families and close the significant pregnancy-related health disparities that Black and Brown moms face,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

“By investing in technology to train health care providers on how to safely deliver babies in life-threatening scenarios, we are ensuring that all expecting parents and babies have access to the quality care they deserve.”

“We know that Black women are affected disproportionately related to maternal mortality and morbidity and we must utilize every opportunity to close those equity gaps,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom.

“I am excited to see NYC Health + Hospitals leveraging technology in service and support their obstetricians and the New Yorkers they serve. These new tools are yet another part of how the city is working to provide safe, healthy births for every expectant person and family.”

“I am proud to say that NYC Health + Hospitals is a leader in virtual reality simulation training,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Women’s Health Officer Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG.

“Thankfully, serious and life-threatening conditions during childbirth, labor, and the postpartum period are uncommon. However, ensuring that our providers have the skills necessary to deal with these critical situations is paramount.”

“Being able to provide convenient, easily accessible, on-site, and realistic simulations is imperative when you want to both provide these important skills-building opportunities without disrupting any patient care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Director of Nursing Simulation Kimberly Campbell-Taylor, MSN-Ed, RN, CHSE.

“Being able to offer a diverse suite of high-tech simulations that not only realistically portray the medical scenario, but also reflects what our workforce and patients look like is an important part of training our staff to provide the highest quality, expert care no matter the situation the arises in the delivery room.”

The VR technology transports providers to a labor and delivery suite where they can virtually interact with their patient and team members using voice communications and real-time interactions.

They are required to direct the clinical team to perform all appropriate managements according to their hospital’s protocol, allowing them to realistically practice critical cognitive skills like communication, teamwork, critical thinking and decision-making during an emergency.

The municipal health care system will acquire 22 VR headsets, two for each hospital, where OB providers will be able to check them out to complete their training when time permits during shifts.

This training will be another arm added to the ongoing obstetrical simulation training and maternal home pre and post-natal care as part of a larger Maternal Mortality Reduction Program.

The new VR technology will be available to all OB providers within NYC Health + Hospitals in the near future.

The introduction of the new VR simulation technology allows OB providers across the health care system to more easily access skills-trainings on their time, being able to sign-out the VR headset and joysticks during downtime in their shifts. Prior to the introduction of the VR technology, whole OB teams had to schedule time to travel to simulation labs across the system to complete individual scenarios.

Once the VR technology is signed out, the OB provider dons a headset and completes a short orientation on how to use their voice to interact with virtual team members and manage care.

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