The Dutch healthcare system is in crisis due to a rapidly increasing shortage of allied healthcare professionals. As a consequence, surgeries are down leaving more than 150,000 patients waiting for surgery in the Netherlands. Training capacity of healthcare professionals is reduced because training still relies mostly on daily clinical practice (‘learning on the job’). On top of that, annually, 10 percent of healthcare professionals pursue careers in other industries adding to the healthcare crisis.
DUTCH, Digital United Training Concepts in Healthcare, propagates a disruptive transformation of training and lifelong learning of healthcare professionals by developing and implementing XR digital and simulated learning resources. The DUTCH collective bundles forces of university medical centers, academies, colleges and all nine training regions of the Netherlands while partnering with educational technology (EdTech) and medical technology (MedTech) partners.
DUTCH focuses initially on the most severe shortages among operating room assistants, anesthesia nurses and radiology technicians. Rolling out XR training to other healthcare professionals such as intensive care nurses and emergency department nurses will follow soon.
The goal of DUTCH is to substitute 50 percent of current workplace training by XR solutions increasing the training capacity and freeing up instructors to contribute to patient care. All training institutions in the Netherlands will be equipped with the novel XR learning products. .
DUTCH will stimulate the economic productivity of the Netherlands by boosting innovation in fast-growing educational markets resulting in a growth of GDP of more than €170 million in 2035. Reducing staff shortages in healthcare and shortening waiting lists will strengthen the labour force in the Netherlands and increase well-being. These social effects are estimated at €43 – €157 million in 2035.
DUTCH education provides the Netherlands with the opportunity to take a stronger leading position in the field of much-needed innovation in education, with intrinsically motivated and innovative organizations in the consortium and direct access to excellent scientific organizations. Transformation of healthcare training is an urgent matter in the Western world and in low- and middle income countries to address the healthcare crisis.
Examples of technology that DUTCH wants to use include Extended Reality (XR) and VR simulators. “Take the example of teaching healthcare professionals how to operate a patient with appendicitis” said Jaap Bonjer, Professor and Chair of Surgery at Amsterdam UMC and the driving force behind the consortium. “The learners and the teacher have to wait until a patient with appendicitis presents at the hospital. XR solutions such as virtual reality simulators enable the learners to train at any time and as many times as needed. These simulators provide detailed feedback allowing more focused training and determining competency. And it saves the teacher time.”