By: David Hand, VP of DevOps Sales at Orasi Software

The pandemic presented unfathomable challenges for healthcare systems and essential workers and put a substantial burden on the healthcare infrastructure across many countries. Vital healthcare services suffered delays. Professionals and specialists needed to be educated and augment their skills and tools to adjust to the recent crisis but struggled to do so as they were facing lockdowns and unprecedented circumstances.

The shift and the impact of technology in this industry is easy to understand now. We witnessed the significance and critical nature of rapid support of healthcare in 2020. According to recent research studies, demonstrating competency in hands-on application training takes effective preparation, knowledge, and experience to achieve results. Incidentally, these areas are challenging to handle with traditional teaching methods during these socially distanced times.

More so now, as the world has leaned heavily upon the availability, reliability, and resources of healthcare heroes, virtual labs have supported and strengthened healthcare service providers in this challenging time. Virtual labs are evolving as alternate, accessible, and cost-effective approach to providing students, administrative staff, and medical professionals with the training necessary to effectively perform their jobs during the pandemic.

Healthcare Training: From anywhere, anytime

The pandemic has made the healthcare industry ask themselves: Can healthcare workers still train and equip themselves remotely?

Turns out, yes. With virtual technologies, that is precisely what started happening. Hospitals have embraced hands-on virtual labs to meet immediate needs for onboarding staff and training on essential software applications and programs used every day to support patient care.

Virtual tools completely revolutionized Electronic Health Records (EHR) training. Technology-led training became a key lever for disseminating protocols in COVID-19. Experts and staff could now add to their competencies and tools without worrying about travel, transporting equipment, risk of becoming ill, or unwieldy expenses. In many cases, healthcare organizations were able to expand their training programs to offer more classes to more students because the physical limitations of traditional training were now lifted.

Leveraging cloud-based virtual training labs helps stimulate a more realistic learning environment that encourages engagement, increases knowledge retention, and ultimately prepares students for real-world scenarios, especially critical in a healthcare setting. In fact, it has been observed that students had positive experiences with virtual learning, authenticity, learner and instructor control, organization, and hands-on practice with essential software applications that are afforded by virtual labs.

Interestingly, 90 percent of students shared that a virtual lab helped them prepare for hands-on laboratory sessions. They also expressed the inclination to use this format of instruction again. And 84 percent of the students exhibited the outcome of achieving greater success in learning with these labs.

Looking ahead

This wave will only gain more force as we move into a new year and settle into a ‘new normal’ state of the world. The role of virtual labs is profound in all aspects. They empower not just doctors or support staff, but also patients. They eliminate a lot of risks and constraints that this contactless environment stringently requires. But they allow consistent and up-to-date training without missing a beat. They ensure patients get the best care based on the newest changes, advancements, and solutions available.

The healthcare industry will be subject to even more demands as the vaccination becomes more readily available. We will need more medical professionals and supporting infrastructure and technology to bring the world out of this crisis. Healthcare training that is – precise, timely, cost-effective, and flexible – will expand and strengthen the healthcare system ahead. And for that – virtual labs will be a huge accelerator.