First Responder Virtual Reality Training Simulation

First Responder Virtual Reality Training Simulation


The immersive virtual reality program called “First Responders” has been designed to train and assess health care providers from the disciplines of emergency medicine, paramedicine, and emergency medicine services (technicians) to effectively implement the Sort-Assess-Lifesaving Interventions-Treatment or Transport (SALT) Triage system.

Project Team

Project PIs
Douglas Danforth, MD, Wexner Medical Center
Nicholas Kman, MD, Wexner Medical Center

ACCAD Faculty and Staff Researchers
Vita Berezina-Blackburn, Graphics Researcher | ACCAD
Scott Swearingen, Design
Alex Oliszewski, Theatre | ACCAD
Jeremy Patterson, Graphics Researcher | ACCAD
Zach Winegardner, Design
Stacey Dunten, Design

External Collaborator
Alan Price, Center for Immersive Media at The University of the Arts 

Graduate Research Associates
Sana asl Benham, MFA Candidate, Department of Design
Abigail Ayers, MFA Candidate, Department of Design
Victoria Campell, MFA Candidate, Department of Design
Leigh Loomis, MFA Candidate, Department of Design 

Additional Wexner Medical Center Collaborators
Katherine Luu, MD
Kellen Maicher (Interactive Design)
Jillian McGrath, MD
Ashish Panchal, MD
David Way (Evaluation and Assessment Lead)

*********  The following video may contain graphic imagery   ***********

First Responders is a state of the art, high fidelity virtual reality simulation designed to train and assess individuals triaging a mass casualty incident. Customizable scenarios can be implemented based on the experience and skill level of the trainee.

Project Description

With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, ACCAD and the OSU Wexner Medical Center are evaluating virtual reality (VR) as a training and assessment tool for first responders charged with managing a mass casualty incident.

The virtual training simulation allows first responders to practice the steps of SALT triage, focusing primarily on correctly identifying the order of patient treatment, assessing their injuries, determining, and providing appropriate lifesaving treatments and effectively communicating with the patients.

Disaster drills and simulation scenarios are the most common way learners are trained and assessed in mass casualty triage. Disaster drills using mock patients or mannequin simulators are costly, difficult to replicate and involve the coordination of large numbers of people. The use of virtual reality for simulating mass casualty can provide a reasonable alternative for training personnel for mass casualty triage, comparing favorably to analog simulations. 

Learning Objective 1

SALT Triage: The first responder (learner) will be able to: sort patients into three broad triage categories using two loud and assertive voice commands. 

Learning Objective 2

The first responder will apply SALT Triage procedure with efficacy so that they are able to treat patient/victims in the intermediate and high acuity categories before their health status deteriorates or decompensates. Lifesaving procedures include placement of an airway to someone who struggles to breathe, application of a tourniquet or pressure bandage for someone who is bleeding or implementation of a thoracostomy for a victim who is suffering from a pneumothorax. 

Learning Objective 3

Minimal Life-Saving Interventions: The first responder will be able to assess the need for and administer minimal lifesaving (emergent) field interventions. 

Learning Objective 4

The first responder will effectively communicate with patient/victims to: prevent panic, calm and reassure patient/victims, request help from individuals on the scene, and contribute to effective diagnoses. 

The universal virtual patient is the cornerstone of the First Responder system. Individual patients can be completely customized with respect to ethnicity, gender, and SALT category and types, severity, and numbers of injuries. In addition, patient attributes such as pulse, respiration, hearing, mood, position, and mobility can be configured. Scenarios are populated with virtual patients that are either selected by the trainee in the simulation or generated by the instructor using a universal patient configuration file. Scenes can be populated with as many as 32 patients with 15 injury options. Patients are programmed to continually check the status of their injuries. The assignment of specific injuries and their severity is linked to an appropriate response set for those injuries that then controls the patient's behavior during the encounter, including vital signs (pulse and respiration), initial pose, ability to walk or respond to simple commands, and dialogue responses.

This project was supported by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.