Oxford Medical Simulation: A Brief Introduction

Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) is an educational virtual reality platform for training healthcare professionals in world-class patient management using virtual patients, without risking lives. Here’s a video that explains the concept briefly:

This is one of those environments where the virtual patients have that sort of creepy, uncanny valley aspect to them: realistic looking, but something is not quite right (to me, it’s the eyes; real eyes are slightly translucent, as I wrote about here, not opaque like billiard balls):

That’s not creepy, that’s not creepy AT ALL

Despite the off-putting uncanny valley avatars, OMS has racked up a truly impressive list of clients, including the National Health Service of the U.K. and (of course) the University of Oxford:

Oxford Medical Simulation offers not only on-site VR training, they also offer distance learning for medical professionals. In fact, the recent global coronavirus pandemic has been an unexpected opportunity for the company to promote their platform, with OMS offering free distance training to healthcare providers in three countries:

We appreciate how hard it is to deliver simulation and clinical education at the best of times, let alone during a crisis. As simulation educators, the team at OMS have experienced the chaos caused by last-minute clinical cancellations and the need to rapidly deliver simulation to fill the gap.

This same phenomenon is now happening on a global scale. In response, OMS immediately offered the OMS Distance Simulation platform free across the US, Canada and the UK as of March 16th, 2020.

Since May 16th, over 50 institutions – with over 17,000 learners between them – have signed up. Many have started utilizing the platform already and many more will start over the coming days. This is being done across all levels of medicine and nursing and for many different use cases:

Nursing programs (BSN and NP), unable to deliver clinical placements; 
Medical programs (DO and MD), fast-tracking their learners for clinical practice;
Hospitals, up-skilling clinicians moving between departments;
Health systems, rapidly bringing in new nurses and retraining clinicians returning to practice.

Aside from the generous offer of free courses for doctors and nurses, no pricing information is provided on their website for the platform, just a contact form to ask for a sales representative to contact you (and I’m quite sure that this platform is not cheap!). If you want more information on OMS, please visit their website, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The other thing that I cannot seem to figure out, either from the website or the promotional videos, is whether or not OMS is truly social VR. Can you share these experiences with other avatars at the same time, like a group of doctors and nurses working as a team on a virtual patient during surgery, for example? Because both Road to VR and well-known VR YouTuber Nathie both lumped Oxford Medical Simulation in with dozens of other social VR apps in their overviews (which I blogged about here), I am going to make the same assumption that they obviously did, and I will be adding OMS to my comprehensive list of social VR and virtual world platforms.