ObjectivePediatric emergencies are high-stakes yet low-volume clinical encounters for emergency medical services (EMS) clinicians, necessitating innovative approaches to training. We sought to explore the acceptability, usability, and ergonomics of a novel augmented reality (AR) software for EMS crisis management training.MethodsThis was a prospective, mixed-methods study employing qualitative and quantitative analyses. We enrolled emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics at a municipal fire service in Northern California. We ran the Chariot Augmented Reality Medical simulation software (#details_redacted_for_peer_review) on the ML1 headset (Magic Leap, Inc., Plantation, FL), which enabled participants to view an AR image of a patient overlaid with real-world training objects. Participants completed a simulation of a pediatric hypoglycemia-induced seizure and cardiac arrest. Participants subsequently engaged in structured focus group interviews assessing acceptability, which we coded and thematically analyzed. We evaluated the usability of the AR system and ergonomics of the ML1 headset using previously validated scales, and we analyzed findings with descriptive statistics.ResultsTwenty-two EMS clinicians participated. We categorized focus group interview statements into seven domains after an iterative thematic analysis: general appraisal, realism, learning efficacy, mixed reality feasibility, technology acceptance, software optimization, and alternate use cases. Participants valued the realism and the mixed reality functionality of the training simulation. They reported that AR could be effective for practicing pediatric clinical algorithms and task prioritization, building verbal communication skills, and promoting stress indoctrination. However, participants also noted challenges with integrating AR images with real-world objects, the learning curve required to adapt to the technology, and areas for software improvement. Participants favorably evaluated the ease of use of the technology and comfortability of wearing the hardware; however, most participants reported that they would need technical support.ConclusionParticipants positively evaluated the acceptability, usability, and ergonomics of an AR simulator for pediatric emergency management training, and participants identified current technological limitations and areas for improvement. AR simulation may serve as an effective training adjunct for prehospital clinicians.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10903127.2023.2224876
View details for PubMedID 37318845