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Comparative Cost of Virtual Reality Training and Live Exercises for Training Hospital Workers for Evacuation

Farra, Sharon L. PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE; Gneuhs, Matthew CHEP; Hodgson, Eric PhD; Kawosa, Burhan CFA, ERP, FRM; Miller, Elaine T. PhD, RN, CRRN, FAAN, FAHA; Simon, Ashley MS, RN; Timm, Nathan MD; Hausfeld, Jackie MSN, RN, NEA-BC

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: September 2019 - Volume 37 - Issue 9 - p 446–454
doi: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000540

Adoption of virtual reality technology may be delayed due to high up-front costs with unknown returns on that investment. In this article, we present a cost analysis of using virtual reality as a training tool. Virtual reality was used to train neonatal intensive care workers in hospital evacuation. A live disaster exercise with mannequins was also conducted that approximated the virtual experience. Comparative costs are presented for the planning, development, and implementation of both interventions. Initially, virtual reality is more expensive, with a cost of $229.79 per participant (total cost $18 617.54 per exercise) for the live drill versus $327.78 (total cost $106 951.14) for virtual reality. When development costs are extrapolated to repeated training over 3 years, however, the virtual exercise becomes less expensive with a cost of $115.43 per participant, while the cost of live exercises remains fixed. The larger initial investment in virtual reality can be spread across a large number of trainees and a longer time period with little additional cost, while each live drill requires additional costs that scale with the number of participants.

Author Affiliations: Wright State University College of Nursing and Health, Dayton (Dr Farra); and Emergency Preparedness and Response, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center, OH (Mr Gneuhs); Smale Interactive Visualization Center, Miami University, FL (Dr Hodgson); and Raj Soin College of Business, Wright State University (Mr Kawosa); University of Cincinnati College of Nursing (Dr Miller); Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Ms Simon); and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Division of Emergency Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (Dr Timm); and Patient Services Institutes, Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Medical Center (Ms Hausfeld), OH.

This study was supported by the Agency for Health Research and Quality through grant R18 HS23149.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: Sharon L. Farra, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, Wright State University College of Nursing and Health, 3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy, Dayton OH 45435 (

Online date: June 4, 2019

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