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VR in Medical Training: 3 Groundbreaking Applications

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

Virtual reality technology is making waves in the growing field of employee training and development, with organizations like Walmart, UPS, and Farmers Insurance already embracing VR as a powerful and cost-effective teaching tool. In the coming years, as spending on corporate training rises while the cost of VR hardware declines, it is likely we will see more companies adopting VR training simulations as part of their employee teaching efforts. While industries and organizations around the globe rush to begin adopting these novel training solutions, one industry in particular has already established itself as a champion of VR learning and development- healthcare. Below, we’ve listed three of our favorite innovative applications of virtual reality in medical training.

VR’s Healthcare Revolution: Transforming Medical Training at CHLA

Earlier this year, VR headset manufacturer Oculus partnered with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) to create a one-of-the-kind pediatric trauma VR training simulation for medical students. The visceral exercises place students in rare but high-risk emergency situations, forcing them to make split-second decisions while paramedics frantically share patient symptoms and distraught parents beg for their child’s life. These high-intensity virtual scenarios are based on real-life CHLA cases and allow future physicians to be better prepared for actual emergency situations.

Virtual Reality in the UCSF Anatomy Lab

The University of California – San Francisco has introduced a virtual reality anatomy lab into its curriculum for first year medical students, bridging hands-on training with cadavers and textbook learning. For the first time ever, students are able visualize and manipulate the arrangement of human bones, muscles, organs, and nerves in order to gain a complete 3D understanding of their spatial relationships. The university hopes that the VR anatomy lab will enhance their students’ understanding of the arrangement of the body and help better prepare them for careers in the medical field.

Virtual Reality Training | Cincinnati Children’s

Dr. Joe Real and his pediatric primary care team at Cincinnati Children’s have developed a VR ‘virtual clinic’ to train medical students to better communicate with parents and families in order to reduce flu vaccine refusals. Remarkably, they found that students who were taught and able to practice these vital communication skills in VR reduced vaccine refusal rates among real patients by 10%. Following this success, the team has begun working new VR learning programs including one intended for parents of children with asthma that teaches how to properly administer inhalers.


Looking to read more about VR in healthcare? Check out our “Medical Applications for Virtual Reality” blog for more insights. You may also enjoy reading our CEO Dan White’s thoughts on “How VR Changes Learning.”