This month, as part of our Westmead feature, we profile Nathan Moore. Nathan is the Lead for Educational Innovation and Technology at the Western Sydney Local Health District and his ALS-SimVR project recently won the People’s Choice Award at the VRST Conference.
Please tell us a little about yourself
My name is Nathan Moore I am the current Lead for Educational Innovation and Technology for WSLHD and am passionate about incorporating technology to improve the quality of education available for clinicians to improve patient outcomes. Prior to this recent role change I was the Nurse Educator for simulation at the SiLECT simulation centre at Westmead Hospital and was responsible for the delivery of simulation based education for clinicians ranging from undergraduate medical and nursing staff to staff specialist medical practitioners. In this capacity I started exploring the use of virtual reality as a cost effective, flexible and transferable modality to supplement existing training programs particularly Advanced Life Support training.
What is your research on?
My PhD focuses on the use of Virtual Reality in the form of our ALS-SimVR application to supplement the training of medical and nursing ALS team leaders to better manage patients during an ALS response. We have built the application on the portable Oculus Quest VR headset so that it can be loaned out to clinicians who can use it in their own time and space. The application puts the participant in the position of the ALS team leader where they are presented with a patient in a cardiac arrest and a full team present. The participant can then direct the full team in the management of the patient including CPR rates and depths, medications, IV access, airway management, defibrillation, pathology review, documentation review and task fixation times. All decisions which are made are recorded by the application and presented back to the participant as an evaluation form outlining their performance, correct and incorrect decisions and decision timings.
What are the real world consequences of your research?
This research and our application will have a number of impacts. Firstly little is known about the efficacy of using VR in the context of team leader training as it has not been done in the approach we are taking, so we look forward to contributing to the knowledge base in this area. Secondly the application we are developing has the potential to revolutionise ALS training not just in WSLHD but throughout Australia and potentially the world. This will allow users to not only prepare for their attendance at ALS training programs but also to refresh their skills in their own time if clinical experience has not provided the opportunity to refresh these skills. Additionally most hospitals required ALS responders to undergo annual reaccreditation and our plan after validating the application as an educational tool is to evaluate its potential as an assessment tool which would significantly reduce the resources to undertake the re-accreditation process. Moving forwards we also aim to include a number of relevant task trainers and tools to build an accessible and novel educational suite of resources for ALS providers. With further resources and development we hope to eventually utilise the application for other types of critical emergencies such as Paediatrics, Trauma and Obstetrics.
What does digital health mean to you?
Digital health to me is utilising technology to streamline and improve patient care. Digital health impacts all areas of patient care from electronic databases to inform research and primary care, easier access to information for clinicians to aide in decision making during the patient stay, improved documentation processes to improve patient safety, informing and enabling educators to deliver effective and relevant education for all staff and so much more.
What are some of the highlights of working at Westmead?
There are a few highlights of working at Westmead for me. Firstly it is working in a hospital which is part of my community, I have presented here before, my children were all born here and I have brought my kids to the Children’s hospital next door on a number of occasions so I really feel by supporting education here I am genuinely helping develop my community. Secondly it is the staff here who do amazing work with large workloads, high patient numbers and an extremely high patient acuity. Even with these workloads the staff still genuinely value good quality education and personal development and will invest time undertaking it. This education takes so many forms from amazing bedside teaching, e-learning, in-services, simulation and so many more. For me it is great to be an enabler for the education of these staff in finding novel ways do deliver this education in a more flexible, efficient and user friendly way. Finally it is the partnerships between the hospital, Research and Education Network, WSLHD, and Sydney University. There is a long history of collaboration between the hospitals, district and Universities. With the precinct redevelopment and expansion has overcome some of the traditional barriers allowing more streamlined true collaboration between University and clinician collaboration and their associated resources. The ALS-SimVR application would not exist today if not for these partnerships and I really look forward to what other exciting projects are developed because of these opportunities.
Connect with Nathan:
Massive thanks to Nathan for featuring in our Westmead issue!