Envisioning the future of healthcare training

I spent four weeks building a Virtual Reality experience, focused on healthcare training. This project stemmed from my passion for emerging technologies and the lifelong influence of my mother who recently retired from nursing.

I went through an extensive UX design process, challenging myself and gaining new skills in 3D modeling and programming to design this immersive experience.

Passion Project: Healthcare

Team: I’m alone 😔

Timeline: 4 weeks | May, 2021 - June, 2021

Role: UX/UI, 3D, Strategy, Development

Tech: Unity, Blender, Figma, Oculus Rift S

THE PROBLEM

An estimated of over 250,000 (10%) annual U.S. deaths are due to medical errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The U.S. healthcare system is failing and one of the most detrimental contributing factors is the lack of resources to provide the education and training nursing students and professionals need.

THE SOLUTION

The immersive and gamified training in Virtual Reality builds patient empathy, strengthens confidence and improves procedure success rate by 38% compared to traditional training.

IMMERSIVE HANDS-ON TRAINING

Your nursing education is about to change.

Welcome to this immersive healthcare training experience where nursing students and professionals can continue their education through virtual hands-on training, in a safe environment. Strategically crafted to replicate real-life scenarios, you’ll forget you’re in a virtual environment.

INTERACTIVE ONBOARDING

Master using VR hardware in minutes.

Our objective was to make this product quick and straightforward. We designed our experience to teach you how to master using VR hardware in a matter of minutes.

INTUITIVE MAIN MENU

Realistic training at the click of a button.

Get the most out of your education through a list of tutorials that will interactively teach you how to perform in various real-life situations.

VIRTUAL EXAMINATIONS

Confident with your skills? Test yourself.

Let’s put your knowledge and skills to the test. No instructions. No help. Just you, your equipment and your virtual patient.

The Process

RESEARCH

Synthesizing secondary and primary research

I conducted extensive research to understand why the healthcare system is failing and to prove Virtual Reality is the answer that the medical field needs to improve the education and training of medical professionals, and ultimately, save more lives.

Main insights

The nursing shortage is a result of problems within the education system.

• More and more qualified nursing applicants are getting rejected due to a lack of educational staff. What I found is veteran nurses will have a significant pay cut if they become teachers.

• With a short amount of people willing to teach the next generation, there are more undergraduates who can't enter the field and hospitals are losing more workers.

Medical errors are a leading factor of patient deaths.

• According to a John Hopkins study in 2016, "More than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S."

• Interview participants addressed how their training isn't realistic using dummies and as a result, they don't learn anything valuable.

• An interview participant mentioned they were told "they'll learn on the job," but it scared them because they don't want to see their patients suffer.

Interview participants addressed a lack of training of basic procedures.

• Participants from ages 25 to 60+ years wished they had more training in Head-to-toe assessments, IV and SubQ (subcutaneous) injections.

Competitive Analysis

I researched direct competitors on how they approached this ongoing problem using Virtual Reality.

Oxford Medical Simulation

Screenshot taken from the official Oxford Medical Simulation trailer


Osso VR

Screenshot taken from the official Osso VR trailer

USERFLOW

Ideating the experience

Now, it was time to begin building my experience. Initially, crafting the userflow took many paths, but to maintain accessibility and usability, I structured it off these two concepts:

• Teach users how to use VR through simple and interactive instructions.

• Guide users to reach the main content as soon as possible.


PROTOTYPE & TEST

Assembling the 3D environment and spatial UI

During the design phase, I found rapid prototyping easier to achieve since Blender natively works in Unity. I originally thought building the experience would take a while due to my inexperience with VR.

To my surprise, I saved a week's worth of time because any changes I made in Blender were automatically updated in Unity. Also, designing the UI in Figma and building it in Unity proved to be less-time consuming.



• Early model of the patient room from Blender with the current scene viewed in Unity.




• At this stage of modeling, I tested my scene to find size adjustments were needed, followed by creating more assets to make a convincing environment.




• Final Unity scene with baked lighting, UV correction and post-processing.




• Marble flooring - procedural texture made in Blender.




• Glossy wood - procedural texture made in Blender.




• Tiled ceiling - procedural texture made in Blender.




Onboarding

The onboarding was the most important part of the experience. My ideal approach was to create a completely interactive experience with visual cues and a AI that would transition each scene after certain tasks were completed.

However, that was beyond my current programming capabilities, so I developed an alternative solution that worked just as great.

I created two versions of the onboarding that I had users test. Both versions had instructions in the form of images and text, but the first version involved picking up various medical equipment, while the second version had users play with cubes.

Surprisingly, the latter gained more favor from my testers, claiming it was “more fun” than picking up medical equipment.




Main Menu

After the onboarding, users can choose from a list of scenarios they can practice on. I featured the three responsibilties mentioned from my interviews with each scenario having the option to begin its corresponding tutorial or examination.




Examination

Finally, the examination was essential to test a user’s skills by removing the step-by-step tutorial function; leaving them in a realistic scenario where they must train their minds to think critically and quickly. Of course, if they wish to leave the simulation at any time, there is an ever-present exit menu found within their field of view.

CONCLUSION

Reflection & Learnings

This project was the result of spending the past few months learning Unity and Blender. My hunger for knowledge and my love for technology drove me to acquire new skills I previously thought I wasn’t capable of achieving. In addition, building this experience with my current knowledge of VR design boosted my confidence and deepened my love for emerging technologies.

My next steps is to continue expanding my UX/UI, 3D modeling and programming skills to explore the possibilities.

If you like my work, let's chat!

I'm currently open to potential Product Design opportunities.
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