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The Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU) Medical Education Technology Centre (METC) has developed a new virtual training scenario on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in cooperation with medical technology start-up Exonicus, as reported by Dienas Bizness on db.lv.

The Exonicus virtual training scenario teaches the correct procedures for putting on and removing PPE. ‘Usually training takes place in groups using real personal protective equipment,’ explains Sandis Kondrāts, co-founder of Exonicus.

The training scenario is currently available to the public. Sandis claims that it will be useful also in case of other infectious diseases, as well as for training people taking care of patients exposed to radiation or undergoing biologic therapy or chemotherapy.

‘Virtual simulations provide trainees with the opportunity to practice independently for an unlimited number of times and to immediately receive feedback on the skills they have learned, or reevaluate mistakes without putting patients at risk,’ says Ieva Šlēziņa, Director of the RSU METC.

In her opinion, the experimental nature of simulations is an advantage, as it is proven that people learn more successfully through experimenting. Remote access to training is also an advantage in the current circumstances, as the epidemiological situation restricts face-to-face interaction, and on-site training is currently impossible. Virtual reality and computer simulations as a remote learning method are accessible to anyone who’s interested. Besides, virtual training does not require the use of protective equipment that is meant for patient use.

Creating the virtual training scenario was the idea of a team from the RSU METC. In early March, the team organised a simulation training in several Latvian hospitals to evaluate how prepared they were to respond to COVID-19.

As a result, it was deemed important for the staff to upgrade their knowledge on how to use PPE safely. Exonicus then created an informal team at the HackForce hackathon and came up with how to implement this idea on the Exonicus trauma simulator.