The company’s CTO, Håvard Snarby, is passionate about both technology and education. During his studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, he conducted research into learning outcomes when using VR. The results of the research showed that clinical students are more engaged and had better recall after training on VR than in traditional simulation on a medical dummy. Teaming up with his sister Siva Snarby, whose expertise lies in economics and financial management, the two founded CTD to help prepare health-care providers for real-life clinical events.
While the tool started on Oculus, CTD has since transitioned it to the Unity XR platform in order to deploy the training to a broader range of headsets. The idea is to minimize any complexity or need for technical know-how so that any student can simply put on a wireless VR headset and start training.
There are two important elements to delivering training in this way. First, is a high level of fidelity – making it feel real. The tool certainly delivers on that, with the virtual patient experiencing multiple negative events and even dying if the correct actions aren’t taken. At a simulation conference in Alta, Anne Kristin Ihle Melby from the Norwegian Directorate of Health tested a VR headset for the first time, and this is what she had to say: “My experience with CTD Helse was that the training situation was so realistic that I felt I was training on a real person in a real environment. I was surprised at how lifelike this was. I strongly believe that this will supplement today’s traditional training methods, and that it can enable more people to train more often. VR technology can be an important contribution to increasing competence in the health service.”
As Håvard put it, “It is better to try and fail a thousand times in VR than once in real life.”
Second is cutting the cost and resources involved in this type of training with no negative impact on the learning outcomes. Using this tool means clinicians from all over the country can train without traveling to a central point. In a country the size of Norway this can save a lot of time and resources. The potential of this to other remote and/or less developed parts of the world is huge.
CTD also simulates the shared learning experience of being in the classroom together. Not only can students do this training individually, they also have the option to work together with an instructor present to guide them. Students from all over the country can learn and communicate in real-time while never having to leave their hometown.