Virtual reality patients are teaching med students how to break bad news

Virtual reality patients are teaching med students how to break bad news

By Katie Dupere, Mashable

How do you deliver bad news?

It’s an unfortunate question we all grapple with at some point in our lives. But regularly having tough, life-changing conversations is a job requirement for many doctors.

A newly developed technology called MPathic VR helps medical professionals learn how to deliver bad news, like a cancer diagnosis or a loved one’s death. The technology, according to its creators at Medical CyberWorlds, teaches “effective, empathic communication skills” to help better prepare doctors for these common conversations.

A study published in April backs up that assertion, showing that students using MPathic VR increased their patient communication skills and felt more confident in having tough conversations than those using traditional methods.

As med students talk with a virtual character in MPathic VR, they must interpret verbal and nonverbal cues from the character, and respond with the best strategies for facilitating care. The MPathic VR characters are designed to react as any human would, displaying facial expressions, mannerisms, and emotions in tune with the conversation in real time. Read more …