NYC Health + Hospitals Launches Virtual Reality Technology in Obstetrics

NYC Health + Hospitals Launches Virtual Reality Technology in Obstetrics as Part of its Ongoing Comprehensive Maternal Health Simulation Educations

Providers will hone their skills to detect earlier and successfully treat life-threatening conditions that can arise during labor

Simulation Technology Gives OB Vendors Easier Access to Professional Training

This effort builds on the commitment of the healthcare system

address maternal mortality disparities among people of color

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the introduction of new virtual reality (VR) technology to its library of Obstetrics (OB) simulation training courses. Co-developed with Health Scholars, a provider of innovative VR healthcare simulations, OB providers across the city’s healthcare system will be able to hone their skills to detect earlier and successfully treat conditions of rare but potentially life-threatening health conditions that may present themselves during labor and delivery. The new VR technology will supplement the training of OB providers, including assistants, midwives, physician assistants and residents, received in-person training to experience simulated realistic scenarios through a VR headset, improving skills and promoting the retention of knowledge at their convenience during changes. The new VR OB training technology builds on the city health system’s commitment to addressing maternal mortality disparities present among people of color, often perpetuated by implicit biases.

“We must do the right thing for all pregnant families and close the significant pregnancy-related health disparities that black and brown mothers face,” said Eric Adams, Mayor of New York. “By investing in technology to train healthcare providers on how to deliver safely 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 mortality and morbidity and we must seize every opportunity to close these equity gaps,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Social Services Anne Williams-Isom. “I am thrilled to see NYC Health + Hospitals leveraging in-service technology and supporting their obstetricians and the New Yorkers they serve. These new tools are another part of how the city is working to provide safe and healthy deliveries for all expectant mothers and families. »

“I’m proud to say that NYC Health + Hospitals is a leader in virtual reality simulation training,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Women’s Health Lead Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG. “Fortunately, serious and life-threatening conditions during childbirth, labor and the postpartum period are rare. However, ensuring our providers have the skills to deal with these critical situations is paramount.

“Being able to provide hands-on, easily accessible, on-site, and realistic simulations is imperative when you want to both provide these important skill development 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 suite of high-tech simulations that not only realistically portray the medical scenario, but also reflect what our staff and patients are like is an important part of training our staff to deliver expert care of the highest quality, no matter what happens in the delivery room.

VR technology transports providers to a labor and delivery room where they can virtually interact with their patient and team members using voice communications and real-time interactions. They are required to lead the clinical team to perform all appropriate managements according to their hospital’s protocol, allowing them to realistically practice essential cognitive skills like communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and decision-making. decision in an emergency. The municipal health system will acquire 22 VR headsets, two for each hospital, where OB providers can check them in to complete their training when time permits during shifts. This training will be another component added to ongoing training in obstetric simulation and home-based prenatal and postnatal care as part of a larger program to reduce maternal mortality. The new VR technology will be available to all OB providers within NYC Health + Hospitals in the near future.

The introduction of new VR simulation technology makes it easier for OB providers across the healthcare system to access professional training at their own pace, by being able to disconnect the VR headset and controllers during downtime from their shifts. Prior to the introduction of VR technology, entire OB teams had to schedule time to visit the system’s simulation labs to perform individual scenarios.

Once the VR technology is disconnected, the OB provider dons a headset and performs a short orientation on how to use their voice to interact with virtual team members and manage care. The provider also receives a briefing from the patient, as if receiving it in real life via a patient’s file. Transported to a labor and delivery room, providers can virtually interact with their patients and team members using voice communications and real-time interactions. They are required to lead the clinical team to perform all appropriate management according to their hospital protocol. The scenario itself takes 8-12 minutes to go through, which is comparable to the time allotted to safely sort out the urgency during labor to avoid unwanted outcomes. Once the OB provider completes the scenario, they immediately receive a note summarizing how they reacted to the situation. They receive a debriefing that highlights what could have been done better.

Co-developers, Health Scholars, partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals because of the city health system’s comprehensive, high-tech approach to OB simulation trainings. By combining Health Scholars’ expertise in VR technology and voice technology with NYC Health + Hospitals’ expertise in OB trainings, the two groups have developed an immersive approach to skills trainings that will facilitate skill building. clinics in health systems across the country. Simulations are also configurable so healthcare organizations can teach and validate skills against national evidence-based guidelines from the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC). ).

“The shift from OB simulation to virtual reality provides educators with an affordable, effective, and simple way to provide students and healthcare providers with the practice needed to provide safe and effective care to OB patients,” says Health Researchers Medical Director Pam Martin, MD, FACS. “Our VR training empowers organizations of all sizes to scale, and at a time when healthcare professionals are on the brink, it’s time to rethink how we prepare our providers to deliver the best care possible.”

There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black patients have a pregnancy-related death rate about three times higher than their white counterparts. The first scenario available to OB providers will simulate postpartum hemorrhage, which is 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 program 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 performed by NYC Health + Hospitals used specially designed, high-tech, color mannequins.

In 2018, NYC Health + Hospitals maternal mortality rates were lower than New York State’s rate of 20.9/100,000 live births.

Learn more about Virtual Reality Obstetric Hemorrhage training and all Health Scholars virtual reality simulation solutions.

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