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Healthcare-associated infections are a great threat to successful medicine and affect every ~10th patient. Transmission of germs–throughout the healthcare environment, from patient to patient, and within each patient from one part of the body to another–is an important contributor to healthcare-associated infections. However, as bacteria and viruses are invisible, it is not obvious for nurses and doctors to always think of cleaning their hands and equipment at the crucial moments. All hospitals worldwide are seeking a solution to this problem.

Thus, we built a prototype of a virtual reality simulator VIRTUE that allows healthcare providers to see germ propagation by unclean hands. The submitted project builds on that prototype.

While functionality in the current prototype is limited to touching the environment and conducting hand hygiene, we want to improve this simulator to reflect an even more realistic work scenario from daily life. Eventually, VIRTUE will be able to generate different stress intensities, turn germ visualization ON/OFF, walk naturally in a multi-patient room, and vividly visualize the effects of germs onto patients. Based on psychologic evidence, we foresee that this experience will change the user’s behaviour radically. Back in their real work environment with real patients they will still ‘see’ germs and will clean their hands and the medical equipment at the right moments. The training impact of VIRTUE will be verified by before/after studies with clinical personnel.


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