With 25% of the healthcare technology management (HTM) population expected to retire over the next 10 years, hospitals and healthcare systems face an increasing challenge to train the next generation of professionals safely, affordably, and efficiently. At AAMI 2018, GE Healthcare is introducing interactive, customizable training options enabled by virtual reality (VR) technology for HTM professionals who service CT and MR equipment.

What’s noteworthy about VR technology, GE Healthcare officials say, is that it enables training to be conducted onsite at a provider’s facility.

“We have a few quantifiable outcomes achieved through the VR training technology,” says Amato DeRosa, system director, biomedical engineering, Hartford Healthcare. “The obvious is cost savings by eliminating travel to a GE training facility. Less obvious, but equally important, is the boost to employee engagement and morale. We no longer must ask engineers to travel over the weekend and take time away from their families. We have seen a quality of life improvement, too.”

GE officials say the benefits of VR training also include helping impact a provider’s productivity and offering a safe learning environment:

  • Productivity: Students gain experience maintaining and troubleshooting a system at their work site. This allows them to avoid abandoning their station to travel to a training facility, from which they would be unable to provide emergency support. Also, customized, on-site training is unique to each hospital and health system.
  • Safety: VR training offers a safe, low-risk learning environment. It allows for mistake-driven learning where employees can safely make mistakes and learn along the way.

“Training the next generation of HTM professionals is a very hot priority right now, and virtual reality is going to be a big enabler,” says Art Larson, general manager, global services training and documentation, GE Healthcare. “This technology allows for the flexibility and customization healthcare providers want, making training available when and where it works best for them.”