Wilcox said current training simulation methods are time-consuming because they require onsite visits and advance scheduling, which can be hard to do with the uncertain cadence of labor and delivery. She said it often takes a year to train clinicians on various scenarios related to maternal mortality.
“We want to put more providers through the training courses and give them more courses to go through,” Wilcox said. “We want to make simulation a normal part of what we do and improve knowledge on how to deal with what should be these never events.”
Wilcox said the platform can be tailored based on specific providers, whether it’s a doctor, nurse, physician assistant, midwife or resident. It also includes reports on how a clinician has performed during the simulation.
“Right now, everything is manual,” Wilcox said. “You need an observer and a recorder for each person undergoing the simulation to try to measure and assess their response and how they’re doing. With VR, it records actions and maneuvers [from the clinicians]. And then we can measure success and how much people are learning. ”
The simulations are multi-cultural and representative, Wilcox said. This is important because many of the hospitals in the public health system serve a primarily non-White patient base, she said.
NYC Health + Hospitals said the simulation is part of a larger effort from the health system to combat maternal mortality disparities. According to the CDC, black patients have a pregnancy-related mortality ratio approximately three times as high as that of their white counterparts.
Mayor Adams helped introduce the new technology and emphasized the importance of using it to reduce health disparities.
“We must do right by all expecting families and close the significant pregnancy-related health disparities that Black and Brown moms face,” Adams said. “By investing in technology to train health care providers on how to safely deliver babies in life-threatening scenarios, we are ensuring that all expecting parents and babies have access to the quality care they deserve.”