Our Showcase Entry

Imperial College Postgraduate Medical School in Second Life

Medical School is in the Scilands

Medical School is now listed in the Linden Lab Showcase, leading to an instant increase in visitor numbers. The island incorporates the Immersive Clinical Scenario that was a finalist in the Linden Prize and is featured in 2nd place in the Showcase’s Education category. Our other projects are all listed here.


Imperial College Islands Tour Part 2

Medical School

Medical School Island

Medical School Island

This postgraduate medical school in Second Life is Imperial College’s virtual hospital where professionals can train and rehearse and patients can learn about healthcare facilities and procedures that they might need to use.

Medical School is located in the SciLands, a Second Life continent dedicated to Science and Technology. Neighboring islands include the UK’s National Health Service Auditorium, the US National Library of Medicine’s ToxTown, North Michigan University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Imperial College’s Second Health project for NHS London (Tour part 1).

Clinical Scenarios for Patient Safety

Clinical Scenarios Wing

Clinical Scenarios Wing

Here we are researching Second Life’s use as a novel platform for in-service training using simulated clinical environments and tricky situations. Our work here will enable hospital staff to learn and practice in a safe environment, without risk to patient safety.

The Orientation Room

Orientation Room

Training Ward

Starting at the Orientation Room, experimental subjects (trained nurses) proceed to the training ward, where a patient is about to experience a life threatening event. 82% of nurses who used this simulation would recommend its use for nursing students. See what you think.
Download a guide with instructions.
This wing also contains a social area, library and a large auditorium which is sometimes used as an overflow for the main NHS Auditorium.

Virtual Operating Rooms

Virtual Operating Room

Virtual Operating Room

For this study we modelled the layout and contents of the operating rooms at St Mary’s hospital in London and created a Theatre Induction Curriculum for introducing undergraduate medical students to the operating theatre before their first encounter with a real one. A Quicktime movie can be downloaded here showing a typical induction tour.

Virtual Patient

Visitors can speak to a Virtual Patient chatbot in the recovery ward. This and other technologies are used to create virtual patients for medical students to interact with.

Patient Experience in Brighton

Taking Blood Pressure

Taking Blood Pressure

We are currently developing a patient-centred virtual world experience intended to help NHS staff gain valid consent from patients with learning disability. People with learning disabilities learn best from multimodal experiences and immersive virtual reality has been shown to support learning. We will use a virtual hospital experience to discover if we can enhance recall and understanding. After exposure the user’s understanding will be tested by a form of non-directive interview technique. The Economist has just run an article (requiring subscription) on the study featuring our partners at the University of Brighton, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Grace Eyre Foundation.

This work is funded by the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme.

Virtual Worlds and Inflatable Operating Theatres at NHS Innovations Expo

Lord Darzi's Keynote

Lord Darzi's Keynote

Lord Darzi addressed a packed auditorium at NHS Innovations Expo this week. The evidence shows that those organisations that are open to innovation are more cost effective and deliver higher quality care than those that lag behind the adoption curve.

I would like to report on the other speakers and workshops at this incredible event, and on the myriad of innovations that were showcased for 2 days in the London Docklands to thousands of visitors, but my colleagues and I were constantly busy demonstrating Imperial College’s innovations including robotic beating heart surgery, the inflatable operating theatre, an improved resuscitation “crash” trolley and of course our virtual operating theatres and wards in Second Life.

More of Imperial’s innovations at the Expo including a movie can be seen here.

The Government has made available a £220 million innovation fund to help get innovative ideas supported and implemented, and to back that up the regional Strategic Health Authorities now have a legal duty to promote innovation in their organisations. My blog is entitled ‘Virtual World Innovations’ because I believe that they provide a fantastic environment for people to share their innovations, as well as enabling service innovations for the future. I spoke to many people at the Expo who agreed that the NHS islands in Second Life could provide a permanent Innovations Expo.

Watch this space!

Digital Britain Report take on Virtual Worlds

Our OECD workshop gets a positive mention in the Digital Britain Final Report out today:

“The UK has taken a leading role in initiating international discussion on the public policy implications of virtual worlds, for example with a highly successful workshop for OECD member countries – on Innovation and Governance in Virtual Worlds – staged jointly with the OECD’s Committee for Information, Computer and Communications Policy in March 2009. As a result the OECD member countries have now proposed that OECD should commence a major study on virtual worlds. BIS has been asked to draft the Terms of Reference for this work and present these at the OECD Working Party on the Information Economy meeting in June.”

Earlier in the report (page 130): “Virtual worlds may offer business benefits and opportunities in relation to enhanced interaction with customers, efficiencies, environmental gains, international collaboration and knowledge transfer. In public policy terms virtual worlds offer interesting scope – for example for citizen engagement and for education – but also significant challenges given that they operate across national boundaries.”

The workshop took place on Mar 11 2009: I spoke about healthcare applications and STEM engagement in a panel entitled “Innovation in private and public sector applications of virtual worlds”. My presentation can be found here (PDF). The Digital Britain Report has a twitter feed here.

Clinical scenarios – training in a safe environment

Clinical Scenario Orientation

Medical devices are common technologies that the majority of healthcare professionals must be familiar with, and yet device associated incidents account for a significant proportion of medical errors. In this project the Department of Biosurgery and Surgical Technologies at Imperial College London designed, built and tested a scenario-based simulation in the 3D virtual world of Second Life. Our research illustrated the use of Second Life as a novel platform for immersive clinical training. Participants were able to learn and practice in a complex but safe environment where they could make mistakes without risk to any real patients. The project was awarded a ‘Special Mention’ by Linden Lab as an innovative virtual world project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world..

This walkthough illustrates the pilot project which was funded by NHS Training for Innovation:

Twitter taking off in US Businesses

Gartner have made another apocryphal prediction, that by 2011, enterprise microblogging would be a standard feature of 80 per cent of social software platforms. The most popular would be Twitter, but other apps could also include Plurk and Jaiku. Whether apocryphal or unquestionably trivial no doubt this statement will now be repeated ad nauseam in conference after conference just like their 2007 virtual worlds prediction (that 80% of active internet users will have a virtual worlds account by 2011, not necessarily Second Life).

According to Gartner the four ways businesses can use Twitter are:

Direct: Twitter can be used as a marketing or public relations channel, much like corporate blogs. At a minimum, companies should register their major brand names.

Indirect: Company employees are using Twitter to enhance their personal and company reputations. It can raise profiles of individuals and the organisations they work for.

Internal: Employees are using Twitter to communicate what they are doing and what ideas occur to them. That said, Gartner warned there was no guarantee of security.

Inbound signalling: Twitter streams and search tools can provide information about what customers and competitors are saying about the company.