360 Degree Virtual Reality Shoot at Grant

Imagine being a medical student. You’ve sat in class and you’ve read
countless textbooks. You’ve spent hours studying and taking tests.
Maybe you’ve even watched medical dramas on TV. But now it’s finally
time for you to go into a hospital and experience patient care first
hand. You’re ready, right?
That first trip into a trauma bay or operating room can be
intimidating. Medical professionals moving around, all with a job to
do. A patient is laying on the gurney, scared and in pain following a
car crash. And you’re right there in the middle of it. Suddenly you
seem to have forgotten everything you’ve learned.
“I’ve seen people panic and be frozen,” says Shay O’Mara, MD, medical
director of trauma services at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. “It can
be completely confusing and the situations can be terrible. It helps to
have at least had some sort of simulated experience beforehand.”
Eric Williams, the co-creator of the Immersive Media Initiative and
associate professor in media arts and studies at Ohio University in
Athens, had an idea. What if medical students could go behind the
scenes at a hospital first and really experience it, without physically
being there?
With immersive media and virtual reality, they can do just that.
“It really allows the viewer to step into an actual location,” says
Eric. “Imagine if you are a surgeon in an operating room. You can now
have 100 medical students looking ‘over your shoulder.’ Not only that,
they can look beyond where a traditional camera wants you to look –
they’re able to look in literally every direction, plus have360 degree
audio. You can hear the monitors behind you, someone talking across
you. You can look up and see the monitor. All of that is possible in
immersive media.
Eric and his team of students from Ohio University, as well as Dr.
Petra Williams, assistant professor in the department of physical
therapy at Northern Arizona University, recently spent a day in the
trauma bay at Grant. They set up their 360 degree cameras to capture
every angle of the trauma bay. They then stitched the video clips
together into one file. When the medical student views the footage
using special goggles, they can see the room from any direction.
“We can use this new technology in a more powerful way to educate our
students to be ready to enter high-risk, high-intensity healthcare
situations that have low tolerance for error,” says Dr. Williams.
“Medical students think they are ready for intense real life situations
and they get in those real life situations and they freeze or they
forget,” says Eric. “So the idea is, how do you acclimate students to
that level of realism? This is one of those steps to get them ready. Go
spend 20 minutes in the heat of a trauma situation. We’d eventually
like to shoot in the back of an ambulance or in a helicopter, just to
simulate what those experiences are like.”
“The transition into a clinical site often takes time for a medical
student to get up to speed quickly,” says Dr. Williams. “We want to use
this immersive technology which gives you that physical presence in a
place they haven’t been. But can we also facilitate their transition in
competence? To begin to train their eyes and ears in real situations
where they can being to develop their competence sooner and faster.”
Medical students at OU will begin using the videos this school year as
part of their education. And Eric says this is just the beginning of
ways this technology can be used.
“We are figuring it out and it’s great that we are figuring it out with
The team at Grant is excited to be involved with a project that is
helping to educate the next generation of physicians.
“This is sort of the next generation of educational materials,” says
Dr. O’Mara. “We always talk about how do we orient people to the chaos
of the trauma bay without putting them in the middle of it and being
involved in patient care before they ever even seen it. This gives us
the opportunity to allow people to see what is happening in a chaotic
situation without being in the way or putting anyone at risk. This is
just a fantastic experience. We can’t wait to see the final product.”