Case Study: Improved Patient Care & Student Communication Through Immersive Learning

Textbooks, manikins, videos and conventional computer-based programming only go so far when preparing nursing students for real-life patients and situations. Immersive learning addresses some of those shortcomings by working in highly realistic scenarios. 

GIGXR’s HoloPatient utilizes volumetric video capture of standardized patient actors to create an extended reality (XR) application that allows instructors to simulate a variety of pathologies and states of decline. HoloHuman is a 3D anatomy model that lets students look at 4500 different anatomical structures.

Dr. Jane Frost, Associate Professor of Nursing at University of Canberra, facilitated a case study examining HoloHuman’s and HoloPatient’s role in and effect on learning. Several key takeaways support the importance of XR in nursing.

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The first is that when students learn the symptomatology of illnesses or conditions from a textbook, it can be hard to transfer that knowledge into understanding visual clues in a patient. Being able to see a patient showing signs and symptoms of various pathologies can help address that. Being able to watch a patient deteriorate in XR also helps students better recognize signs that a patient needs additional care. 


“We can discuss the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, but that’s not like actually seeing a patient go into shock,” said Dr. Frost. “HoloPatient allows students to see and really explore a patient’s deterioration in a safe environment without the need to act.”

Another major challenge for healthcare professionals is interprofessional communication. Different disciples often perceive different needs and use different terminology. Students from four different disciplines examined the same HoloPatient scenario, allowing them to develop a more fluent dialogue. 

Lastly, many nursing skills require detailed hands-on knowledge, including very common procedures such as injections and catheterization. Using HoloHuman, students can see, for example, where the deltoid muscle is located, or the route a catheter should take.

Dr. Frost has seen an increase in both student engagement in the classroom and motivation to learn using the HoloHuman and HoloPatient applications. Jane is continuing her research in the use of these applications in both nurse education and interprofessional education. 

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