Health Scholars announced the availability of the first Virtual Reality (VR) Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training designed specifically for first responders. Made possible with the company’s Public Safety Innovation Accelerator Program – User Interface grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Partnership and the State of Colorado’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Program, the company is excited about the possible impact to the industry and the community.

Designed in accordance with American Heart Association guidelines and input from local EMS partners, providers play the role of the team lead running a mega code and are provided thirteen total scenarios that reflect cardiac and non-cardiac arrest scenarios. Using voice direction, providers identify rhythms and direct virtual team members to shock, give meds, and/or perform CPR as necessary. The simulation provides extensive practice on communication, situational awareness, decision-making and competencies such as accurate hospital notification.

“With average adult survival rates of 26% for in-hospital cardiac arrest and up to 11%[1] for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, continuous improvement to cardiac arrest response and training is an obligation to patients,” says Brian Gillett, MD, President of Health Scholars. “ACLS is just the first application within a larger resuscitation suite because we believe that designing scalable, self-directed, and affordable simulation for first responders was an untapped, yet imperative market to develop. They are on the front lines of patient safety and deserve effective, experience-based training and skills assessment.”

By virtualizing training, small or rural EMS organizations are now able to integrate more immersive training practices and VR provides agencies of all sizes an additional training modality that easily scales to any number of providers, is at least 50% less than the cost of traditional physical simulation, and provides performance reporting that is actionable.

“Our goal in working with Health Scholars is to introduce new technology within the EMS market, but more importantly provide an effective solution to make training more accessible and frequent, help EMS staff stay sharp and provide EMT’s an easy way to grow skills,” says Ed Smith, Captain, Clear Creek EMS.

The work involved with development and management of this new training is being performed under the following financial assistance award 70NANB18H149 from U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

“This grant has provided Health Scholars the ability to advance the use of virtualization in public safety. VR has the power to fundamentally improve the way training products are designed and how training is executed in public safety. The possibilities are endless and with NIST’s program and our EMS partners we have been able to bring the first of many VR training simulations to market,” said Cole Sandau, CEO, Health Scholars.

[1] Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2019 Update: A Report from the American Heart Association; Circulation Journal