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Novant Health launches VR training



The voice-activated, immersive virtual reality leadership training is designed to help leaders approach sensitive issues with their teams and is inspired by “Talking Taboo: Making the Most of Polarizing Discussions at Work,” authored by Dr. Alex Alonso, SHRM-SCP, CKO of the Society for Human Resource Management.


Novant Health has announced it has already rolled out what it says is the first-ever VR-based leadership development training in partnership with the Novant Health Innovation Lab.

Several of its clinical and nonclinical leaders have already participated using a soft skills training program created by the Brooklyn, New York-based Moth+Flame technology studio. The cloud-based platform, named Promise, uses virtual reality to drive and sustain organizational cultural change. 


Team members across the health system, which serves locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, will also immerse themselves in a lifelike environment that uses natural language processing to practice difficult workplace discussions – and ultimately address unconscious bias – in a supportive, nonthreatening environment. 

“Health care is extremely personal and can sometimes require difficult conversations,” said Dr. Chere Gregory, senior vice president and chief health equity officer, Novant Health, in the prepared statement. 

They will be separated from their typical surroundings and use their voices to interact with virtual participants.

Moth+Flame reports that this kind of immersion offers organizations greater training efficiency than 2D instructional training because “participants learn by doing rather than by dissociative clicking,” according to the announcement.


“Virtual Reality is transforming corporate training by reducing training time and improving training results. We have seen that people leaders are more confident in the material they learned than traditional learning formats,” said Kevin Cornish, founder and CEO of Moth+Flame.


Virtual reality is being used across the healthcare sector for needs like surgical training and patient distraction, and even to address the mental health professional shortage. 

At Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee, the use of VR-based surgical training significantly increased procedural accuracy and completion rate, according to Dr. Cory Calendine, chief of orthopedic surgery. He told Healthcare IT News earlier this month that he highly advises early integration of VR systems into training programs.


Virtual reality is also the “goldilocks” the mental health sector has been waiting for, according to Risa Weisberg, chief clinical officer at BehaVR and a licensed clinical psychologist teaching psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and at Brown University.

“Virtual reality replaces your sensory input, creating an immersive experience that the brain processes more like a completely new reality,” she said.

“It’s as if whatever you’re seeing and hearing is actually happening to you. This level of engagement means that the experiences in VR are processed by your brain in much the same way that actual experiences are.”



“I’m proud to be part of an organization that is committed to investing in forward-thinking training and development, giving our team members the confidence and ability to have these needed conversations with fellow team members and/or their patients,” Gregory said in the prepared statement.

“At Novant Health, we continually look for solutions that combine our focus on purposeful innovation and human-centered care,” said Carmen Canales, senior vice president and chief people and belonging officer of Novant Health.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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