Health Scholars and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), have entered a partnership to co-develop virtual reality (VR) training applications to equip first responders with skills vital to assess and treat pediatric medical emergencies. The goal of the partnership is to leverage VR technology to deliver more active and impactful training opportunities for first responders. As a result, EMS providers will have the first capability to continuously train on real-to-life pediatric emergency encounters using deliberate practice. The use of VR makes rich, experience-based training highly accessible to all first responders in a low cost/high yield model.

The two co-developed VR applications, "Pediatric Emergency Assessment" and "Pediatric Emergency Care," are the first VR simulations dedicated to pediatric emergencies for EMS professionals. Recognizing severe illness in infants and children is challenging, and it’s further compounded by limited exposure to pediatric emergencies. Unless providers are practicing frequently, the nuanced critical skill sets needed to effectively treat infants and children decline over time, leading to significant readiness challenges.

For more information on how the industry is adapting to Covid-19, read Emerging and Future Themes.

AAP and Health Scholars recognized a substantive gap in preparing for pediatric emergencies and see VR as a solution for increasing the frequency of training in real-to-life scenarios. The new applications represent an industry breakthrough in using converged VR technologies to address critical outcomes. The applications use artificial intelligence (AI-enabled) voice technology to replicate real-world interaction and to create highly sophisticated, self-directed learning experiences that adapt to the providers’ proficiency level to optimize learning gains. This approach to learner assessment captures rich information about individual learner competencies and the overall readiness of departments or regional/national organizations.

“Limited exposure to severely ill infants and children in the prehospital setting presents a challenge in terms of training,” said Brian Gillett, President & Chief Medical Officer, Health Scholars. Providers need continuous deliberate practice for pediatric emergencies in order to maintain readiness for the subtle symptoms which severely ill infants and children often manifest and to promptly initiate high-quality resuscitative care. VR enables the delivery of this training to large learner populations.