HUNTER-based stroke researchers have launched a world-first training program using virtual reality technology to guide hospital staff through the "dos and don'ts" of treatment.
Announcing the trial on World Stroke Day, Conjoint Professor Chris Levi - from the Hunter Medical Research Institute - said the TACTICS virtual reality (VR) device was designed to bring step-by-step logic and advice to an often time-pressured environment.
"We have some of the most powerful treatments in medicine available to treat stroke, and up to 50 per cent of patients, sometimes more, can effectively have a cure if we can see them in time," Professor Levi said. "That's fine if you live near a major stroke hospital - in remote areas, though, it's often difficult to access these treatments within the required timeframe."
Professor Levi said TACTICS - Trial of Advanced CT Imaging and Combined Education Support - aimed to bridge the evidence-practice gaps and minimise delays and uncertainties.
"It's a prototype at the moment, and we believe this is the first time it has been tested in stroke, internationally, to implement best-evidence practice," he said.
VR headsets have been distributed to seven primary stroke centres including the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, as well as Taree, Tamworth, Armidale, Moree, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour. The $80,000 software could be used to train everyone from triage and emergency department nurses to radiographers and doctors.
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