NYC Health + Hospitals is rolling out virtual reality technology to help train obstetricians and reduce the rate of maternal mortality events, the health system and New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday.
The health system, which covers 11 acute hospitals and multiple clinics across the city, said it has developed the VR solution in tandem with Health Scholars, a Westminster, Colorado-based company. The technology will allow providers to experience simulated maternal mortality scenarios lasting 8-to-12 minutes through a VR headset.
Using the technology, the clinician will guide a virtual team to perform all appropriate tasks during the maternal mortality scenario based on their hospital’s protocols. The aim is to hone communication, teamwork, critical thinking and decision-making skills during an emergency.
The public health system has invested in 22 VR headsets, two for each hospital. Obstetrics providers will be able to check them out to complete their training when time permits during shifts.
“Virtual reality can really increase our capacity in training,” said Dr. Wendy Wilcox, NYC Health + Hospitals’ chief women’s health service officer. “If you can get a realistic training course into the hands of the provider that they can access whenever they want, it can be cost effective.”