The Royal Society of Medicine and edtech startup, Bodyswaps, have combined forces to deliver next-generation training modules that transform healthcare professionals' soft skills development through immersive artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.
The first innovative module will launch and be available to all RSM members this summer.
The training takes place in a virtual environment and can be experienced with a VR headset or in front of a display screen. This offers an innovative way of enhancing soft skill development in a safe digital space.
On entering the virtual environment, the user will play out a scenario, interacting with an AI avatar. They will then ‘swap’ bodies with the avatar, while the scenario is played back to them, providing them with detailed feedback on what they said, how they said it and, in the full version, non-verbal communication, such as body language and eye contact.
Interacting with an AI avatar, not a real person, is believed to lower the inhibitions that can sometimes stifle progress in human-to-human training scenarios.
Announcing the partnership in January 2023, Professor Mary Bishop, Director of Learning at the Royal Society of Medicine, said: “We believe this is a compelling statement of intent, to firmly establish our place as a leader in the world of digital education.
“Through digital platforms, and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are already empowering healthcare professionals around the world to access our leading medical education. But we have only scratched the surface of what innovative and immersive technologies can do for our members and those in the health sector who access our education.
“Bodyswaps is a leader in skills training powered by AI and VR, and we are incredibly excited about what we can build together.”
Christophe Mallet, CEO and Co-founder of Bodyswaps, said: “We want to work with the very best partners and are excited to bring our cutting-edge solution to this project, collaborating with a centuries-old yet forward-thinking institution in the Royal Society of Medicine.
“This is a unique opportunity to make medical learning truly experiential in an area that has been under served.”
To ensure academic rigour and specialist knowledge, the RSM has contracted a leading expert in improving healthcare professionals’ communication with patients. Professor Dame Lesley Fallowfield, Professor of Psycho Oncology at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, is advising on course content.
Professor Bishop added: “Having Dame Lesley on board is crucial as she has world-leading expertise and understands better than anyone the communications skills that healthcare professionals need, particularly in challenging medical situations.”
The Bodyswaps team will be at the next Members’ Reception on 10 July 2023. You can book your free place now.