Australian innovation in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is creating training tools for healthcare professionals as well as tools to improve patient treatment and care.

Immersive reality in education and training

Continuing education is an area in which Australia has significant expertise. Vast distances and a highly urbanised population means many rural and regional healthcare professionals are a long way from centralised education centres. It is often difficult to maintain training certifications and attend conferences in person. In addition, Australia shares a global challenge - to develop a trained, digitally aware workforce, appropriately equipped with digital literacy.

AR and VR tools are increasingly providing comprehensive, interactive and engaging learning options to support skills acquisition and transfer.

For example, the University of Newcastle has developed a VR tool called Road to Birth for midwifery students. A digital headset takes users on a 3D journey through pregnancy, depicting a life-size female figure in front of them, whose gestation can be explored and observed.

Another example is SIMTICS, which provides online simulations of over 120 clinical procedures to enable clinicians to practice their techniques, including sonography, radiography and ultrasounds.

Immersive reality applications

The positive impact of immersive reality is being felt throughout the Australian healthcare system. Examples include:

  • AR solutions such as Plattar let clients in industries including healthcare create AR experiences for products and services.
  • Equal Reality has produced diversity and inclusion VR, that allows users to literally see from the point-of-view of others, including those of a different gender, race or ability-level

Image courtesy of University of Newcastle