Pathology frontline virtual reality training simulation

  • 2021

  • Digital
    Apps and Software

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Werfen Australia

Designed In:


This virtual reality training for point-of-care-testing in the heathcare environment, is a world-first. It was designed to help healthcare professionals overcome limitations of time, training costs, travel, social distancing, and the availability of blood testing devices. Through partnership between TAFE NSW, Werfen, NSW Health Pathology and CognitiveVR it aims to solve a current healthcare industry problem.

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  • Over 31,000 healthcare workers are currently registered with NSW Health Pathology alone as point-of-care testing operators. They work across a broad range of health specialities including doctors, nurses, indigenous health workers and laboratory technicians and perform 1.6 million pathology tests annually (or 4385 per day). These test support fast, reliable diagnosis of conditions such as sepsis and heart attacks. Challenges in training this exponentially growing workforce include trainer and device availability, patient safety, consistency, and costs particularly important in the context of regional and remote healthcare. The VR application offers a solution that also bypasses challenges associated with pandemic restrictions.

  • The TAFE NSW Digital Lab worked with subject matter experts to identify the core learning objectives and face to face training challenges. The team utilised Werfen's CAD files to make an exact replica of the GEM Premier 5000 (device) optimized for virtual reality environments. The GEM was placed into a virtual hospital ward, complete with sights, sounds the interactions of a real-world setting. Healthcare workers gain consistent hands on experience in testing blood samples and performing basic maintenance on the device as well as building confidence in effectively identifying critical life-threatening results without putting real patients or themselves at risk.

  • Social Impact: The application aims to provide medical professionals with greater access to detailed training scenarios and ensure workers have the critical diagnostic testing skills they need during the pandemic and beyond, to assist with safer clinical decision making and improving patient care. Commercial Impact: The application will enhance Werfen's training support services for clients. This reduces financial impacts of these services and will place Werfen as a preferred supplier for clients seeking to future proof their expanding workforces. Environmental Impact: The devices are based on consumable cartridge technology. The VR application enables unlimited practice running tests without waste generation.

  • In order to replicate the real-world interactions with the GEM Premiere 5000 analyzer as accurately as possible we developed custom touchscreen UI mechanics that work in VR using virtual hands. This system uses haptics feedback, in the form of small vibrations through the controller, to alert the player that they have pressed a button, replicating the "feeling" of touching a screen with your finger. In order to make the user experience as consistent and familiar as possible for users, we extended this touch mechanic to all UI interfaces throughout the VR experience, allowing users to interact with screens in the same way they are used to interacting with smartphones and tablets in the real world. In addition, we replicated the physical aspects of the analyzer as accurately as possible by utilizing CAD data provided by Werfen. We also used the company's PC GEM Premiere 5000 simulator as a reference when re-creating the various screens, buttons and icons that were required for interactions with the analyzer in the VR experience. In this way we were able to produce a virtual version of the analyzer that is as faithful to the real-world as possible.