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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.

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. A series of case studies are being curated to provide illustrations of how simulation has been used successfully to address issues in these different areas. These will be published alongside the strategic vision and made available below and on the Learning Hub.  Alongside this document is a description of simulation-based techniques relevant to education and practice in health and care. This document gives clarity on definitions and descriptions of simulation and immersive technologies, which we hope will enable consistency and cohesion.

An operational plan, proposing ways in which these discussions can become reality by utilising the wide array of opportunities that are available through TEL (e.g. the Learning Hub, e-Learning for Healthcare etc) is in preparation. This will respond to the wider needs of the national programmes and align to regional and local requirements.

The HEE National Frameword 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 five 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. A toolkit is being finalised for a phased release during 2020 that will help describe how the guiding principles can be applied to different simulation and immersive learning projects. This will provide a more consistent implementation of the framework and drive improvement in the quality of SBE that will be beneficial to learners and education providers, commissioners and ultimately to patients.

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 and future design and delivery of SBE training

Key lessons from the initial response of the UK simulation community to the COVID-19 pandemic

HEE TEL commissioned a brief study to reflect on how the simulation community supported the NHS response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key lessons are highlighted in relation to strategic and operational mobilisation of expertise and resource to meet local and regional needs. This response was acknowledged as rapid and agile, addressing immediate workforce reskilling requirements and ‘stress testing’ the design of new environments and ways of working. Recommendations for future practice are made, recognising the benefit of enhancing future co-ordination and collaboration across organisational and geographical boundaries that exist in health and care.

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.

Developing a national strategic vision on simulation in health and care

The next phase of work being led by HEE TEL is exploring how high-quality simulation-based programmes can be applied to help address system-wide challenges being faced within the health and care sector. This will include 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. A series of case studies are being curated to provide illustrations of how simulation has been used successfully to address issues in these different areas. These will be published alongside the strategic vision and made available below and on the Learning Hub.

Immersive Learning Technologies

HEE TEL has initiated a Special Interest Group (SIG) that focuses on the use of immersive technologies in health and care education. Opportunities and evidence of benefit in using innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the use of virtual, augmented and mixed realities are being explored.

Evaluation and evidence of 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 is undertaking a review of evaluation frameworks that can be applied to help develop and strengthen the evidence base for this overarching programme of work.

For further information

Many of the documents and resources we have mentioned above will be available on this page as well as on the Learning Hub. This platform, explained in more detail on our blog, is where many existing and future resources will be accessed.

For more detailed information on specific aspects of the HEE TEL Simulation Programme, please email tel@hee.nhs.uk.