Local manufacturer donates $1 million towards immersive medical education at RVH

'It aligned with what we're trying to do as a company within our community'

News release – Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH)

Innovative Automation, a Barrie company recognized as a global leader in advanced manufacturing technologies, today announced a $1 million gift to the RVH Foundation’s Keep Life Wild campaign to support the advancement of immersive medical education at RVH.

The Innovative Automation Simulation Lab at RVH will be a state-of-the-art medical education centre focused on the integration of high-fidelity manikin and virtual reality (VR) simulation technologies. It will give medical teams the opportunity to practice their skills in hyper-realistic environments.

The investment has positioned RVH as a leader in immersive VR medical education. Simulations can be customized to match the health centre’s physical layouts and equipment configurations and reproduce complex medical scenarios. It can also integrate team-based immersive experiences to train for major traumas and other highly specialized situations. The goal is to establish a first-of-its-kind partnership with hospitals across the region to share these virtual resources and improve the teaching quality and capacity across Simcoe Muskoka.

“For RVH’s care teams to advance their skills, they must have opportunities to stretch beyond their current competencies without taking risks on real patients. A modern simulation lab incorporating virtual reality alongside physical patient simulators provides an immersive world where clinicians and trainees can practice high-risk, low-incidence scenarios safely and effectively,” said Dr. Chris Martin, Chief and Medical Director for Critical Care, Director of Medical Education, and Co-Medical Director, Trauma.

Dr. Martin emphasized the impact this gift will have on the region to the Innovative Automation team during a demonstration of virtual reality simulation technologies.

A demonstration of virtual reality simulation technologies applied to help medical students learn

“In the last year, I think that we saw the potential for virtual reality to combine with our existing simulation program,” said Dr. Martin. “We felt like this is the time to do it because it’s just so new and it’s going to be the future. As we’ve seen from AI and all these other technologies, this is the way it’s heading for many industries.”

“We are excited by this opportunity to transform the learning experience at RVH,” said Stephen Loftus, Innovative Automation’s founding partner and CEO. “This investment in simulated learning will give our region’s medical community advanced and specialized training, which will in turn positively affect the health of everyone who receives care at RVH.”

“It aligned with what we’re trying to do as a company within our community,” said Loftus. “And the decision was two days, a day literally … this is what we want to be part of.”

The Innovative Automation Simulation Centre is part of RVH’s expansion plan to bring more world-class care closer to home to better meet the needs of a growing region. The Keep Life Wild campaign, with a goal of $100 million, will support the expansion to ensure that everyone in our regions stays healthy and can keep living the wild life they love.

“Our vision is to be Canada’s leader in immersive medical education in a community hospital setting because we know that to do so will save lives,” said Pamela Ross, RVH Foundation CEO. “This gift is an example of philanthropic leadership. Innovative Automation is using its giving to change the future of health care in the region. This is the power of generosity and imagination in action.”

Images and video – Barrie 360