Increased Memory Recall
Improved cognitive and physical memory of mission-critical tasks and up to a 45% reduction in errors.
Faster Time on Task
Training resulted in up to a 29% reduction in time-on-task and a 91% acceptance rate among cadets.
Decreased Time On Task
82% of Austin EMS cadets felt prepared for the testing of selected topics after participating in the AR & VR training.
Specialized training can cost as much as $100k per year per training. AR/VR training costs a fraction of that.
The City of Austin approached ATS with a specific training challenge for their Ambulance Bus (AMBUS). The AMBUS is a large 18 wheeler multi-patient vehicle bus that’s sent to large-scale events. The problem with training on the AMBUS is that you can’t get everybody to where one is located. And they wanted to explore creating an augmented or virtual reality training simulation to determine if that would be a viable training option.
Hurricane Harvey Highlights Need For New Way To Train Emergency Medical Services
The City of Austin was struggling with training for large-scale events. Hurricane Harvey had happened, which devastated the coast of Texas. And, the City of Austin was part of that response team. One of the entities that were being deployed in that kind of event was AMBUS. The challenges experienced by the EMS in deploying the AMBUS during Hurricane Harvey motivated Commander Noble of Austin-Travis County EMS to explore new training options such as augmented and virtual reality as a potential solution.
After deploying the AMBUS in events such as Hurricane Harvey, the City of Austin realized their teams do not have enough training on the AMBUS, how it functions, how it’s equipped, and where things are located in.
They required accessible training to teach a wider group of cadets how to perform in an incident with the AMBUS maximizing the use of the equipment and in those events. We were approached by the city to develop training scenarios for the ambulance bus. Through an initial discovery session with the city, we spent a few hours determining the training experience and what it should consist of.
Then, we moved on to what traditional training would look like. How do we incorporate both traditional training and evidence around what should be in simulations and pair them and match them with what needs to be learned and understood in the ambulance bus space?
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Training Options for Emergency Medical Services
Augmented Training Systems built both AR training and VR training. To test this solution, we went to a simulation, a live testing event, and compared AR/VR and traditional training together.
We had 50 cadets that went through the training randomly assigning them to AR, VR or traditional training sessions. We did not prescribe to the cadets what or how much time they needed to spend in these spaces. This ensured minimal guidance to provide a pure a testing scenario as possible to help us understand the effectiveness and impact of AR/VR training when compared to traditional.
We had many basic questions.
- Do people want to do this?
- Do they care about it?
- Is exciting to them?
What we found at the end of this test simulation was very exciting. It was both quantitively and qualitatively conclusive that AR and VR groups far outperformed the traditional groups. They had 45% more memory recall than the traditional group and were 30% faster.
What we also found out is that the cadets were really excited about it. On average, in a week’s time, the cadets entered the training environments 20 times per cadet. This demonstrated that not only did the VR simulation and training work, people were excited about. People were attracted to it.
“The group that did the traditional training was really jealous of the other groups that got to do the AR and the VR training.”
Normally, the cadets were sitting in a classroom for six weeks during the academy with power points and lectures. This was something new and exciting to the point where the group that did the traditional training strong sentiments about not being able to participate in the AR/VR training until the end of the traditional training.
To test the knowledge of cadets, the AR and VR environment was designed and built to mimic exactly the layout and location of where things were in the ambulance bus. Then, a knowledge test was conducted to evaluate the performance.
This enabled tracking and comparion of numerous metrics such as:
- How long it took them on that task
- How many errors were made per task and overall
Finally, the cadets were tested on the real AMBUS. This provided the necessary data to gain and understand the impact of the AR/VR training approach to make sure the knowledge transferred into a real life context.
Significant Improvement In Key Metrics Observed For Both AR and VR training as compared to Traditional Training
The results were exciting and validated the inquiry initially put forth by the Austin-Travis County EMS inquiry – Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality training options could be deployed for training scenarios that were difficult to set up and replicate within limited time and budget.
- Improved cognitive and physical memory of mission-critical tasks and up to a 45% reduction in errors.
- Training resulted in up to a 29% reduction in time-on-task and a 91% acceptance rate among cadets.
- 82% of Austin EMS cadets felt prepared for the testing of selected topics after participating in the AR & VR training.