Virtual worlds for real-life problems

Client: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Consultant: Dave Taylor, Programme Lead, Medical Media and Design Laboratory, Department of Surgery and Cancer

Expertise: New media applications in healthcare

Our consultants shared their expertise in new media applications in healthcare to help introduce the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center chemotherapy clinic staff and patients to a virtual world equivalent using the open source Second Life application.

 

The Challenge

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre’s chemotherapy clinic approaches chemotherapy treatment in a completely different way to traditional hospitals, and the novel concepts will take staff and patients time to get used to. For this reason, they wanted to build a virtual Second Life imitation of it for staff to see it and adapt to it in a safe environment prior to working in the clinic.

 

Dave Taylor explains:

Typically staff have only a few days to get used to a new hospital building before it opens to the public. With a Second Life build exactly replicating it, staff can train for much longer beforehand in the virtual hospital, testing their operating procedures and planning their daily routines.

Dave Taylor
Programme Lead, Medical Media and Design Laboratory, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

The Solution

Dave Taylor and his team have been using Second Life and similar virtual environments since 2006 and have expert knowledge in developing interactive environments for a wide range of advanced planning, training and assessment applications including clinical and major incident simulations to enhance the relationship between clinicians and patients as well as train new doctors more efficiently.

 

Dave Taylor explains:

Imperial was one of the founders of the science and technology region in Second Life, along with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dave Taylor
Programme Lead, Medical Media and Design Laboratory, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

They built a virtual Second Life version of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre clinic based on the specifications of the real one, from the rooms and windows down to the furniture and equipment.

 

The Impact

 

Professor Lord Ara Darzi for the Medical Media and Design Laboratory says:

Many people think that Second Life is just for entertainment, but it’s so much more than that.

Ara Darzi
Professor Lord, Medical Media and Design Laboratory, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

Dave Taylor is very happy with the outcome:

We’ve seen how effective it can be as a learning tool and how networking has evolved when it happens in a virtual world.

Dave Taylor
Programme Lead, Medical Media and Design Laboratory, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London

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