PatientVR is a project created by Nick Peres, Lead for learning technologies at The Horizon Centre and is part of the Education Directorate SDHCFT. The project is supported by Dr Matt Halkes Director of Education and Darren Woodall, Innovation Practitioner.The project has been created within South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The video experience was born out of PhD research carried out by Nick while evaluating new arenas of interactivity within medical simulation. Concerned with representing the patient voice in medical education and training, the research looked to cinematic theory to understand how characters and back stories are portrayed so effectively in film.

Using current technology trends, PatientVR has been filmed from a simulated first person patient perspective throughout a ‘treatment’ pathway, from ambulance to resus bay and then on to a theatre like setting. The initial ‘Patient Experience’ video is a proof of concept and therefore filmed within simulated environments. The experience employs extended cinematic aspects to offer the user a visual and emotional demonstration of the power and learning outcomes that can be attained from seeing a serious life event from the patients eyes, and how humanistic skills such as communication, eye contact and genuine empathetic gesture can all play a significant role in a patient’s treatment process.

The project will go on to look at various scenarios and cases in a healthcare setting where valued learning and insight can be achieved by creating similar patient perspective experiences.

The project has utilised advanced visual and viewing technologies.  By incorporating two synchronized wide angle cameras on top of the patient’s head, the video offers both extended widescreen viewing and 3D layering, bringing the scene more to life.

Viewers / medical professionals can then watch this footage using a virtual reality headset – in the case of this development the Oculus Rift. The stereoscopic 3D and the wide field of view create an immersive experience where the user is able to navigate the video left to right, much like the patient would in their own field of view. The user can replay the experience and notice the interactions between staff and environmental factors that may be worth exploring.

The movie has been adapted to virtual reality format (side by side left and right cameras). Consequently what you watch trough the virtual reality headset is in 3D and you can move your head forwards and backwards in this virtual world, allowing for zooming into certain spaces and really customising the way it is viewed for each user.

About the Team:

Nick Peres

Nick Peres is a PhD student with Transtechnology Research supported by The Horizon Centre located within South Devon Healthcare Foundation Trust, where he works and teaches as a medical simulation and digital technologies specialist.
His background and training is from within the broadcast industry, with particular experience and attention in documentary film production.
Nick’s interest is towards viewer reaction and association with certain imagery, coupled alongside the modern technical ways visual delivery can be deployed and contribute to the viewing ‘experience’.  His research and practice in 360 degree video has led to pioneering the use of ‘user navigational’ video in healthcare for post event analysis.
Within a medical simulation setting, Nick remotely controls a high fidelity manikin positioned in a mock theatre or ward environment that can blink, breath, bleed and speak to represent a wide variety of patient cases and scenarios. The frequent use of props, moulage, outfits, back story and incorporating live role play characters are all used to increase the realism of these training events.

For over two years, the research development has gradually begun to merge the disciplines of video and simulation to introduce media elements into simulated scenarios in order to enhance story, environmental factors and patient/clinician relationships. However, it is now this idea of creating a visual state of ‘higher reality’ within this physical and immersive training environment that leads his research towards an understanding and potential creation of a cinematic representation of ‘human factors’. Working around representing notions of workplace communication, compassion and empathy through key imagery and sequences to create a better understanding of these humanistic skills that often get forgotten within the clinical training setting.

Dr Matt Halkes, Director of Education 

Darren Woodall & Torbay Hospital Innovation Team 


The Cast: 

Dr. Tod Guest – Consultant Anesthetist

Julian Wright – Simulation and Clinical Skills

Martin Copeman – Clinical Skills / SODP

Glynn Andrews    – Clinical Skills /ODP

Donna Seccombe – Resusitation Officer / Nurse

Nick Peres  – Simulation and Learning Technologies


The project is supported by: