LIFE is a scenario-based mobile and VR gaming platform that will teach healthcare workers to identify and manage medical emergencies using game-like training techniques to reinforce the key steps that need to be performed in order to save lives.
LIFE has been developed by a team of researchers and technologists at the University of Oxford and the KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kenya. The project was initially crowdfunded through OxReach, with the support of HTC, MSF and the Skoll Foundation, and has gone on to be awarded further funding by the Wellcome Trust and the Saving Lives at Birth Grand Challenge.
Healthcare workers can download LIFE scenarios to their mobile phones and play them wherever they want. The mobile app uses novel approaches to mobile learning to keep learners engaged and to efficiently convey the key knowledge they need to know to manage a medical emergency.
The Virtual Reality version of LIFE is being developed to allow healthcare workers to connect over low-bandwidth internet connections with experienced trainers in a VR hospital where they can learn how to manage medical emergencies in a realistic setting. This “live” instruction mimics the approach taken with face-to-face training courses.
LIFE is designed to host a number of different scenarios for learning how to manage a range of medical emergencies.
The first scenario we are developing for the LIFE platform is Neonatal Resuscitation:
In this scenario, the user takes on the role of a healthcare professional who is on their own and has to save the life of a newborn baby who is not breathing. The user has to correctly answer a series of questions, find the right equipment to perform a resuscitation in a virtual 3D ward environment and then use the equipment to successfully save the baby.
The Neonatal Resuscitation is currently undergoing beta-testing and will be trialled in Kenya during 2017.
The LIFE Team
The LIFE team, led by Prof Mike English, has considerable experience implementing healthcare worker training across Africa. Mike developed the ETAT+ training in 2006 and delivered the first courses with Prof. Grace Irimu and Dr. Wachira (Chairperson of the National Resuscitation Council of Kenya), and subsequently demonstrated its effects at changing practices in a 2 year study across 8 hospitals.
For the LIFE project, they have been joined by Oxford colleagues Dr Chris Paton, Dr. Hilary Edgcombe and Jakob Rossner. Chris, Hilary and Jakob have combined expertise in health informatics, simulation training and game development. Prof Niall Winters and Dr Anne Geniets have recently joined the LIFE team from the Department of Education to test the Paediatric Resuscitation scenario in Kenya with Naomi Muinga from KEMRI-WTRP.
The LIFE artwork is being designed by award winning African game designers, Leti Games. Oxford University Innovation, the University of Oxford’s technology transfer organisation is helped the team to launch a campaign through its new crowdfunding platform, OxReach, to support LIFE.