Drei Personen mit VR-Brillen


Reality check in virtual space

Published on February 07, 2024

Thanks to virtual reality goggles, doctors and nursing staff can already move through the planned premises of the future new MITTE1|2 buildings and check whether the planned processes at the new workplace are suitable.

Put on the virtual reality glasses and immerse yourself in a completely different world. The future workplace in the hospital, which has not yet been built, appears before your eyes – in 3D. If you take a few steps, you are moving through virtual space. If you turn your head, you also pan around in virtual space. With controllers in both hands, you can also interact in the room and draw attention to things with a pointer.

Simply move furniture around

The virtual reality platform for the virtual tours of the new buildings comes from the provider Inspacion. It not only shows the floor plans, but also the planned furnishings. Beds or appliances can be moved around the room. However, the colors, materials and lighting conditions are deliberately not very realistic. “That’s not the aim either,” explains Claudia König, Project Manager Hospital Operations for the new USZ buildings MITTE1|2. “The virtual walk-throughs make it easier for us as planners to test and simulate with future users whether the space meets their needs or not.”

Suddenly everyone is talking about the same thing

And this test is not easy, because specialists from the fields of medicine, care or logistics talk about the same complex problems, but in a different technical language than the architects and planners. “The virtual walk-throughs enable both sides to better understand each other and experience the space,” says Claudia König. This makes communication easier, which also makes planning more efficient because there is less talking at cross purposes.

Are the processes correct?

During the virtual tours as part of planning workshops, Claudia König takes two future users with VR glasses on a tour through a room – for example through a materials room, a recovery room or an operating theater. Other team members of the users observe on a screen what the people experience through the glasses. The discussion is now open as to what is good and where adjustments are still needed: Can you manage with a patient bed around the corner? Is the furniture in the right place and at the right height?

Avoid planning errors

Thanks to the 50 or so workshops held by the MITTE1|2 campus project team with representatives from various departments, various planning errors were avoided. Alen Golubovic, Head of Radiology Specialists in the Department of Neuroradiology at the USZ: “We discovered that a radiology device, the C-arm, was positioned incorrectly in the room. When entering the room with a patient bed, there would have been a risk of the bed colliding with the C-arm.” Another example: In the repositioning zone in the preparation room for magnetic resonance imaging, those responsible found that the space for the bed and couch was too small. The inspection was also productive for the patient hotel industry. Head of department Ladina Westermann: “We noticed that the dishwasher and our transport system were in the wrong place. We hadn’t noticed this at first simply because of the plans.”

More than a gimmick

If planning errors are discovered at an early stage, it is possible to reschedule with minimal cost consequences and time delays. However, if they are only discovered during commissioning, it becomes really expensive. The medical departments can also use the virtual inspections for training and change management workshops. The budget for the production of mock-ups, i.e. replicas of planned rooms, can be greatly reduced thanks to virtual walk-throughs. However, you can’t do without mock-ups completely: they are always important when it comes to materialization – of the floor, for example, or the wallpaper or furniture. Optics, cleaning and hygiene play a major role here.