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Simulation and immersive technologies

The HEE National Strategic Vision for simulation and immersive technologies in health and care explores how high-quality simulation-based programmes can be applied to help address system-wide challenges being faced within the health and care sector.

Simulation and immersive technologies are revolutionising health and care education, growing in popularity across all sectors and disciplines, and offering different ways of supporting and engaging with learners.

The Simulation and Immersive Technologies programme within TEL explores how high quality simulation-based programmes and immersive technologies can be applied to help address system wide challenges being faced within the health and care sector.

Our work across the programme includes: 

  • Speciality Training Gaps project: applying simulation and immersive technology solutions to mitigate the impact on medical training from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is aligned to the national recovery programme, Reset, Recover, Reform
  • Operationalising the HEE National Strategic Vision for simulation and immersive technologies in health and care 
  • Developing a national project to support faculty development for simulation and immersive technologies
  • Working with partners to develop VR360 products to provide immersive learning experiences to support workforce needs
  • Producing papers, guides and videos to support the adoption, implementation and design of simulation and immersive technologies including: Immersive Technologies in Healthcare Education and Training Toolkit, A description of simulation-based techniques relevant to education and practice in health and care, HEE National Framework for Simulation-Based Education (SBE),  Faculty development , simulation modalities, and VR360 film development
  • Hosting monthly and quarterly meetings to share innovations, promote best practice, and discuss latest developments nationally and regionally. The NHS Mixed Realities Education Group and VR360 Education Group meetings take place monthly, and the Regional Simulation Leads Network meets every quarter

If you would like to find out more about the work within the Simulation and Immersive Technologies programme or to attend one of the meetings, please email simimmtech@hee.nhs.uk

The HEE National Strategic Vision for simulation and immersive technologies in health and care explores how high quality simulation-based programmes can be applied to help address system-wide challenges being faced within the health and care sector.

It includes workforce development and transformation, new ways of working that arise from integration of technologies and changes in approach to service delivery and enhancing patient safety. Alongside this document is a description of simulation-based techniques relevant to education and practice in health and care which gives clarity on definitions and descriptions of simulation and immersive technologies.

The HEE National Framework for Simulation-Based Education (SBE), published in 2018, describes the vision and expectations for a national approach to the design and delivery of high quality, effective SBE across England. The framework outlines 5 guiding principles to help align a needs-led and outcomes-driven approach to SBE that fits within the remit of HEE and which can be applied to the full spectrum of simulation and immersive learning technologies that are available.

A suite of short videos has been produced to help raise awareness of different simulation modalities. 

COVID-19

HEE TEL has developed some important guidance regarding the implications of COVID-19 for SBE. A document describing practical tools and techniques to ensure appropriate risk management for learners, educators and support staff is now also available. It includes good/best practice exemplars nationally to help maintain the provision of SBE in a safe manner, and suggests adopting more blended approaches to remote and face-to-face learning – exploring the use of the Learning Hub as a repository for sharing resources.

Specialty Training Gaps project

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly interrupted or hindered postgraduate specialty training for many trainees. Working closely with the HEE postgraduate deans, heads of specialty schools, the royal colleges, trainee groups and national programmes, this project aims to provide rapid access to simulation and technology-based resources to help address specific training gaps and support broader recovery plans where feasible. 

To support this work, colleagues can access ‘How to Develop a VR360 Film’ – a comprehensive tool which provides extensive advice on production for learners who are developing their own simulation and immersive technology capabilities. Part 2, which focuses on post-production, is in development.

HEE TEL has committed to provide a national, multi-professional, faculty development programme for the simulation and immersive learning technology community. Learners can access the Faculty Development Guidance which supports this work and has been modelled on the guiding principle within the simulation-based education framework. 

The specialty training gaps (STG) project aims to support a significant investment into simulation, immersive learning technologies and co-existing TEL resources that may help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on medical specialty training. This investment will offer a range of learning solutions which can be adapted and applied to support national and local educational needs.

As part of the STG project Health Education England’s Technology Enhanced Learning team is working with Insight, who are managing the distribution and deployment, to provide Extended Reality (XR) devices and software to NHS Trusts to support the continuing delivery of health and care education. For more information about the please email simimmtech@hee.nhs.uk

Evaluation and evidence of the benefit of simulation

To support the effective translation of the guiding principles described in the framework into current and future applications of simulation in health and care, HEE TEL has undertaken a review of immersive technology in the healthcare environment. An evaluation framework and toolkit will follow shortly. This can be applied to help develop and strengthen the evidence base for this overarching programme of work.

In addition, opportunities for wider engagement with industry are being investigated, with future plans to develop a cohesive immersive technology strategy and policy that will enable delivery of learning that is fully embedded in current thinking. 

For further information

Many of the documents and resources mentioned above will be available on this page as well as on the Learning Hub. For more detailed information on specific aspects of the HEE TEL Simulation Programme, please email simimmtech@hee.nhs.uk.