NYC Health + Hospitals Introduces Virtual Reality Technology for Obstetrics as Part of Ongoing Comprehensive Maternal Health Simulation Training
Simulation technology gives midwives easier access to skills training
This effort builds on the commitment of the healthcare system
to combat the differences in maternal mortality between people of color
New York, NY
NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the introduction of new virtual reality (VR) technology to its Midwifery Simulation (OB) course library. Co-developed with health scientists, a provider of innovative VR healthcare simulations, will enable OB providers across the city’s healthcare system to hone skills to detect and successfully address rare but life-threatening health problems that can arise during labor and delivery. The new VR technology will complement the training of OB providers, including nurses, midwives, physician assistants and residents, who have received them from face-to-face training to experience simulated real-life scenarios through a VR headset, enhance competencies and promote knowledge retention when it suits them during shifts. The new VR OB training technology builds on municipal health care efforts to combat maternal mortality disparities among people of color, which are often perpetuated by implicit bias.
“We need to treat all expectant families well and close the significant pregnancy-related health disparities that black and brown mothers face,” he said. Mayor of New York, Eric Adams† “By investing in technology to train caregivers on how to safely deliver babies in life-threatening scenarios, we are ensuring that all expectant parents and babies have access to the quality care they deserve.”
“We know that black women are disproportionately affected by maternal deaths and morbidity and we must take every opportunity to close that equality gap,” he said. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom† “I’m excited to see NYC Health + Hospitals adopt technology and support their midwives and the New Yorkers they serve. These new tools are yet another part of how the city is working to ensure safe, healthy births for every person-to-be. 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† “Fortunately, serious and life-threatening conditions during labour, delivery and the postpartum period are uncommon. However, it is paramount to ensure that our suppliers have the skills needed to handle these critical situations. ”
“Providing convenient, easily accessible, on-site and realistic simulations is imperative when you want to deliver both of these important skill-building opportunities without disrupting patient care,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Director of Nursing Simulation Kimberly Campbell-Taylor, MSN-Ed, RN, CHSE† “Being able to offer a diverse set of high-tech simulations that not only realistically represent the medical scenario, but also reflect what our staff and patients look like is an important part of training our staff to to provide the highest quality, expert care, regardless of the situation that arises in the delivery room.”
The VR technology transports providers into a labor and delivery suite where they can virtually interact with their patient and team members using voice communications and real-time interactions. They must direct the clinical team to perform all appropriate treatments according to their hospital’s protocol, allowing them to realistically practice critical cognitive skills such as communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making during an emergency. The GGD will be getting 22 VR headsets, two for each hospital, for OB providers to view to complete their training when time permits during shifts. This training will be a new branch to be added to ongoing obstetric 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 enables OB providers across the healthcare system to more easily access skills training over time, by logging out the VR headset and joysticks during downtime in their services. Prior to the introduction of VR technology, entire OB teams had to schedule time to travel to simulation labs in the system to complete individual scenarios.
Once the VR technology is logged out, the OB provider puts on a headset and follows a short introduction on how to use their voice to communicate with virtual team members and manage care. The healthcare provider also receives a briefing from the patient, as they would receive in real life via a patient card. Transported to a labor and delivery suite, caregivers can virtually communicate with their patient and team members using voice communications and real-time interactions. They must direct the clinical team to perform all appropriate treatments according to their hospital’s protocol. The scenario itself takes 8 to 12 minutes to run through, which is comparable to the time allotted to safely assess the emergency during labor to avoid ill effects. Once the OB provider has completed the scenario, they are immediately given a grade to summarize how they have reacted to the situation. They receive a debriefing that indicates what could have been done better.
Co-developers, Health Scholars, partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals for the comprehensive and high-tech approach of the municipal health care system to OB simulation training. Combining Health Scholars’ expertise in VR technology and speech technology with NYC Health + Hospitals expertise in OB training, both groups developed an immersive approach to competency training that builds clinical skills in health systems across the country. will facilitate. The simulations are also configurable so that healthcare organizations can teach and validate competencies against national evidence-based guidelines from the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC).
“Moving from OB simulation to VR provides educators with an affordable, efficient, and convenient way to provide students and caregivers with the practice needed to provide safe and effective care for OB patients,” says Health Scientists Medical Director Pam Martin, MD, FACS† “Our VR training is empowering organizations of all sizes to scale readiness, and at a time when healthcare professionals are being stretched to their limits, it’s time to rethink how we’re preparing our healthcare providers to deliver the best care possible.”
Significant racial and ethnic differences in pregnancy-related mortality exist. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black patients have a pregnancy-related mortality about three times that of their white counterparts. The first scenario available to OB providers simulates postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal death. Additional scenarios, such as maternal code, shoulder dystocia and fetal heart monitoring, will be developed and added to the VR curriculum in the coming months.
The cast depicted in the VR scenario includes a pregnant patient of color, a partner, and a diverse care team. Previously, OB simulations, conducted by NYC Health + Hospitals, used specially designed, high-tech, full-body, color mannequins.
In 2018, NYC Health + Hospitals’ maternal death rates were lower than New York State’s rate of 20.9/100,000 live births.
Learn more about Obstetric Hemorrhage VR Training and all Health Scholars VR Simulation Solutions.