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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 19 February 2024

RUH's Dr Darren Hart awarded this year's Innovation Gold Medal by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine

  • RUH is launching immersive VR technology to train staff in 'Back to Basics' patient safety measures
  • Hart is currently collaborating on a palliative care VR project with Dorothy House Hospice
Dr Darren Hart on stage at TEDX Bath holding a VR headset

Principal Clinical Scientist Darren Hart who has led or supported a number of highly successful innovation projects at the Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust, is this year's recipient of the prestigious Innovation Gold Medal by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

The Gold Medal is awarded to those who have consistently contributed at an outstanding level to the advancement of healthcare innovation.

Darren supported the development of the RUH's Back to Basic's Virtual Reality (VR) videos, which are part of the RUH Patient Safety Programme. Developed by a small project team and funded by a grant from Health Education England, the VR videos are a different and memorable way to refresh people's knowledge of the RUH's patient safety priorities.

With a cast of RUH staff volunteer actors and actresses, four overlapping patient stories have been recorded using multiple 360° cameras. Staff can virtually sit at the end of a patient's bed or accompany colleagues to see how preventable patient safety issues can arise and be avoided.

Darren said: "I am delighted to be recognised as an innovator within the NHS. New ways to help address the healthcare challenges around us need to be explored, nurtured and celebrated, and I have been very fortunate to work alongside many brilliant patients, colleagues and mentors who have helped to do this. The RUHs Back to Basics VR training is such an example; we all know how important patient safety is so having the opportunity to bring the training to life in this way that will really benefit the people we care for and we've also received fantastic feedback from our staff."

Darren has also been collaborating with Dorothy House Hospice Care to explore the use of VR and 360° cameras to create immersive recordings that virtually transport patients receiving end of life care to local outdoor surroundings to aid wellbeing. The project also aims to enable family and friends to borrow a simple 360 camera to record favourite locations or special moments personalised to the patient that they can view on a VR headset or phone or tablet.

Alongside Darren's role within the RUH Clinical Imaging and Measurement team, he is a member of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme which aims to support the healthcare workforce to develop and scale innovative ideas for the benefit of patients, staff and the wider NHS.


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