Finding the money for new EMS training tools can be a challenge and making the most of any investment is important. The goal is to provide the highest quality training at the lowest cost per student.

“I’ve presented a lot of educational solutions and physical simulators and on the physical simulator side, there are a lot of people that will look and say even if it was free, it’s not for me,” says Jared Akers, Director of Strategic Relations for VRpatients. “In contrast, for the VR side and the software side, every person looks at it and they know how they can instantly implement it in their program. They fully see and understand where this would benefit them at some level.”

In-person trainings give students the opportunity to practice their skills and receive instant feedback, but they often come at a high cost per student. Also, during situations like the coronavirus outbreak, gathering groups of students together is just not possible.

EMS educators are looking for remote learning alternatives. Tools that use virtual reality can help keep the training going both during the pandemic and after. With the ability to provide real life training without real life consequences, VRpatients is one such tool.

Maximizing Training Dollars

No matter how your organization gets the money to teach EMS workers, you want to get the most bang for your buck. When it comes to EMS training, VRpatients provides EMS-specific training at a low cost per student.

“It’s always about money. There isn’t anybody that we talk to that doesn’t see a use for our software,” Akers says. “But the thing is, the industry that we’re selling into is notoriously underfunded.”

Many municipal governments, agencies, and educational institutions rely on grant funding and administrative processes to fund their EMS training. Finding and applying for grants can be an arduous process, so getting the most value for your money is important.

When looking for a software or other investment, here are some things to consider:

  • Subscription fees: Consider a multiyear subscription instead of paying annually. The savings can be substantial. Also, paying for several years with one grant or funding source can allow for some longevity and continuity as you look for sustainability of funding.
  • Multiple uses: Will the technology have multiple uses after an immediate need expires?
  • Ease of use: Can you get the technology up and running quickly so students can begin using it?
  • Upgrade ability: Is the technology upgradable and changeable with the times or will it get stagnant?

If your EMS training budget includes a simulation lab, it requires a brick and mortar space, a trainer to monitor and evaluate the activities, physically present students, consumables like PPEs, and equipment like training mannequins to provide somewhat realistic experiences. A virtual training environment like VRpatients can be an alternative.

“You’ll never come close to the cost that you spend on one mannequin for what we have,” Akers says. “With VRpatients, you can offset the cost of expensive mannequins with an application that is customizable, experiential and allows you to objectively assess a student’s readiness for the field,” he added.

The software allows autonomy, so instructors can assign the same case to all trainees, who can then complete the clinical case remotely on their own time.

Scenarios are easily modified as needed. “You’re given a lot of things that you can do within [the VRpatients software], and as a result, the decision is on you on how you’re going to deploy it,” Akers explains. “Onboarding takes just a few hours then trainers can jump right in and create cases using skills and concepts they want to emphasize.”

With a paid subscription, customers can utilize all of the training opportunities available and it’s constantly updated.

“[VRpatients] is never done. This is not a static piece of software or equipment. It is constantly evolving and changing because it’s a subscription service,” Akers says, adding it is very similar to other software subscription services we’re all familiar with like Microsoft Office and Adobe. They periodically add new and updated features at no additional cost, and VRpatients does the same.


CARES Act Funding For EMS Training Tools

The COVID-19 pandemic left many organizations searching for funding to pay for initial investment or upgrades to their distance learning capabilities to allow EMS workers to continue their education.

“Nobody’s allowed to come in the classroom and do interpersonal things right now so the pure remote learning aspect of our software gives instructors the capability to assess their students or provide formative training remotely, where they don’t currently have it,” Akers explains.

The CARES Act might be a source of funding for some organizations. Authorized on March 27, 2020, the act includes $2 trillion in economic relief, some of which can be used for medical education, training equipment, and learning tools.

Within that act, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund includes $15 million in funding opportunities called the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).

In order to apply, training entities must meet certain criteria:

  • Be an institution of higher education (IHE): These are accredited and state licenced and pre-accredited public or nonprofit postsecondary institutions that grant degrees.
  • Qualifying purchases: The act encourages investment in distance learning technology and associated costs for implementation.

In a letter to college and university presidents dated April 30, 2020, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos provided some encouragement to IHEs to apply for the funding.

“While I know you face many challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to use these awards to expand your remote learning programs and build your IT capacity. These activities will help ensure that learning can continue for your students during the Nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and strengthen your position to support continued learning in the future,” she said.

The CARES Act money can pay for:

  • Healthcare workforce education and training equipment
  • Hospital employee training to reduce COVID-19 exposure
  • Distance learning for medical students, faculty, and staff training
  • Transition to virtual instructional delivery
  • Reimbursement of COVID-19 related expense including educational technology

As an industry leader navigating the remote learning world, the people at VRpatients know you are always looking to optimize your educational toolset. VRpatients increases knowledge retention and builds stress inoculation, all for a fraction of the price of traditional sim training.

Contact us to schedule a demo or to learn more about how VRpatients can help you get the most out of your precious training dollars.