ParaVR: a virtual reality training simulator for paramedic skills maintenance

Nigel Rees, Neil Vaughan, Thomas W. Day, Nigel W. John

Journal of Paramedic Practice. 12. 478.
DOI: 10.12968/jpar.2020.12.12.478


Background Virtual reality (VR) technology is emerging as a powerful tool in medical training and has potential benefits for paramedic education. Aim The aim of this paper is to report the development of ParaVR, which uses VR to maintain paramedics’ skills. Methods Computer scientists at the University of Chester and the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (WAST) developed ParaVR in four stages: identifying requirements and specifications; alpha version development; beta version development; and managementā€”development of software, further funding and commercialisation. Results Needle cricothyrotomy and needle thoracostomy emerged as candidates for the prototype ParaVR. The Oculus Rift head-mounted display was combined with Novint Falcon haptic device and a virtual environment crafted using 3D modelling software, which was ported to the Oculus Go virtual reality headset and the Google Cardboard VR platform. Conclusion VR is an emerging educational tool with the potential to enhance paramedic skills development and maintenance. The ParaVR programme is the first step in the authors’ development, testing and scaling up of this technology.