More than half a dozen MDIA students are currently working on a collaborative project between the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab and graduate students in the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training at Northern Arizona University. Students include:
The project is being overseen by MDIA Associate Professor and Co-Creator of the Immersive Media Initiative Eric Williams alongside Dr. Petra Williams from NAU. Additionally, it is a parallel project to one that the GRID Lab is working on with Dr. Ashley Crow and the Physical Therapy division at Ohio University.
Per MDIA Professor Eric Williams, “The project is focused on an approach that we developed in the Immersive Media Initiative called “PRE-ality” (or preparing people for reality). The idea is that many people are overwhelmed the first time that they enter intense environments. This might be a 10-year old going on a field trip to a strange place, or a physical therapy student doing their first rotation in a hospital. Our theory is that by using 360-degree video to place people in these intense environments in virtual reality – and letting them spend some time there as a fly on the wall – then those same people go to the actual environment later, and are more emotionally and cognitively prepared for the environment. Therefore, they can learn and act more quickly because they are better able to overcome their fears and apprehension.
In the work that we are doing at NAU, we have recorded a variety of 360-degree scenarios at a local hospital – the same hospital where many of the Doctor of Physical Therapy students (DPTs) will do their first clinical rotation. These are real patient scenarios, captured in the actual rooms with real patients. There’s no acting. And we have created a small 6-8 experience library that the DPT students watch and discuss each week. Half of the students experience the VR examples, and the other half are given the same information in lecture and in readings.
In the summer, these students will go on their clinicals – many to the same hospital, same wing, same rooms. We are then going to compare the “preparedness” of those who received VR training to those who did not. We are going to test it on two different levels: we are going to ask the students how prepared the FELT going in, and then we are also going to ask the medical professionals that they shadow how prepared the students actually WERE the first few weeks of clinical.
We are doing a similar project at Ohio University with Ashley Crow. In that scenario, we have captured simulated rooms (with actors sitting in as patients). One of the skills that a DPT needs to have is the ability to “read the room” – are the monitor readings correct, is the patient dressed/positioned/covered appropriately, are all the tubes and wires correctly placed according to the charts on the wall, etc. We are creating a library of 30-40 scenarios of different patients in different rooms – each with different problems that the students should be able to identify. Dr. Crow teaches a class of approximately 40+ DPTs and the logistics of creating various practice scenarios for all of them is restrictive. But in Virtual Reality, the students can practice in any of the scenarios at any given time.
The idea of PRE-ality is that these videos are used to prepare the DPT students for a real run through of “reading the room”. Since we captured the scenarios either at OhioHealth O’Bleness Memorial Hospital or in the OU medical simulation areas, when Dr. Crow is ready to finally assess their real-world aptitude, she will create simulations in one of these two areas and the students (hopefully) will be prepared to really do a room/patient assessment. At least, that’s the theory. We are creating this library this fall/spring, and Dr. Crow will begin testing the process in her class this summer. This project was funded through an internal grant from the PT division.”
To learn more about The Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, click here.