PCS Mini-Grant FAQs

Nov 21, 2019 1:00:14 AM · 2 min read

In September we announced a mini-grant opportunity for simulation programs interested in both contributing to academic literature on the topic of virtual reality in medical education beyond surgical and anatomical fields of training, and exploring how communication training conducted within VR could enhance existing curriculums.

We’re pleased to share that many simulation programs are elated about this opportunity, and as a result we’ve been inundated with inquiries. Here are the Top 7 Frequently Asked Questions!

  1. Are there minimum requirements for the number of participants?
    • No, there is no minimum requirements for number learners. Ultimately, sample or group size is up to Principal Investigators as outlined in the methods of proposed study.
  2. When does the year of VR access and service begin?
    • The mini-grant awardee will be announced and electronically contacted on Monday January 10th, 2020. The awardee can choose the date upon which service will begin, and will have 365 days from chosen date. VR equipment will arrive 1-2 business days prior to chosen start date.
  3. What exactly is the “commitment of 80 minutes of clinical interviewing per month (12 sessions total)”?
    • This is merely a guideline to encourage active usage during the year of ownership. Usage and methods should be further defined by Principal Investigators for their study. For example, a nursing program utilized PCS Spark (formerly known as VERA) every Friday for the month of October. Approximately 6-8 clinical interviews every Friday, with each student’s interview lasting ~12-15 minutes. At minimum, this nursing programs interacts with PCS Spark (VERA) about 72 minutes per week; or 288 minutes per month. They’re well beyond the mini-grant’s minimum threshold of 80 minutes per month. If your study/project outlined, say, 4 students would interact with PCS Spark (VERA) for 20 minutes per month, that would meet the ‘active use’ threshold easily.
  4. How does VERA work: what are the software capabilities?
    • Using speech recognition and neural networks (AI), PCS Spark (VERA) understands over 5,500+ clinical interview questions. More simply put, it works like Siri… but instead of asking Siri, “what’s the weather like today?”, you would ask the VR patient, “Tell me about what brings you to the clinic today?” Your VR patient is programmed specifically for questions within the context of a health assessment (our AI doesn’t know who won Sunday’s football game…unless of course you specifically program your patient for that question & answer). Here is an example of what an interview with PCS Spark: <5 minute video.
  5. Can we develop and create our own scenarios, or do we have to use the existing content?
    • If your proposed activity involves using existing scenarios, that’s OK with us. If you would like to develop your own scenario for your activity, you can create your own custom patient. Support can be provided for both creating a custom patient, or modifying an existing scenario.
  6. How is the grant awarded & what is included in the grant if awarded?
    • The mini-grant is awarded if the form of hardware and software service. The awardee will receive an Oculus Go VR Headset and a 1-year subscription to PCS Spark Premium, which also includes access to PCS Spark (VERA) as a screen-based patient (utilized for telehealth simulation), and all bundled scenarios, avatars, and environments.
  7. What patient populations are included with VERA (PCS Spark)?
    • PCS Spark’s (formerly known as VERA) current roster of avatars includes:
      • Pediatric female: caucasian/asian american (approx. age 8-15)
      • Adult female: caucaisan (approx. age 18-40)
      • Adult female: african american (approx. age 41-64)
      • Adult female: caucaisan (approx. age 65+)
      • Adult male: asian (approx. age 18-40)
      • Adult male: caucasian (approx. age 41-64)
      • Adult male: african american (approx. age 65+)
    • Virtual Environments include
      • Clinic / Exam room
      • Hospital
      • Ambulance
      • Home environment

Continue to ask questions and engage with us! There are 6 weeks remaining until the deadline! Applications can be revisited and edited before December 31, 2019 11:59 PST.

Start the application process today: PCS Mini-Grant Online Application Form


*photo credit: “Towards Data Science”, Virtual Reality Trends 2019
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