Janssen Uses VR to Train Nurses in Giving First Cancer Treatment

Janssen, a pharmaceutical company under Johnson & Johnson, has designed a virtual reality (VR) platform that is designed to train nurses. The system simulates a clinical setting in which nurses use VR tools and interface to administer medications to a virtual patient. The VR was named Most Valuable HCP Initiative at EyeforPharma’s annual awards ceremony this year in Barcelona, Spain.

The main goal of the experience is to increase nurse confidence in administering their first multiple myeloma drug treatment. Through use of the HTC Vive VR kit, nurses are immersed in a virtual chemotherapy office where they can interact with many elements, including the patient. Nurses reports after using the VR were positive, with all of the users believing the experience would assist in their daily clinical practice and recommending the VR to a colleague.

This concept arose after Janssen’s UK early access program for a new multiple myeloma drug came about. The company determined there was a need for a detailed training system to guide National Health Service nurses through their first administration. The aspect of VR allows them to practice this procedure in a risk-free environment that accurately simulates the experience.

After receiving this award in Spain, the team behind the VR said: “Winning this award is an accumulation of a lot of different emotions. It has been a rollercoaster journey. We started with the idea to solve something, then thought: ‘How do we put these insights into practice and what’s the best modality to do it?’ We then had to deal with internal challenges; working out how to get regulatory approval for a virtual environment and how to find the right supplier. The award is a nice point of recognition of getting to the end point.”

“For us the real benefit was that patient treatment was not delayed, because the training took place before the product was launched. You build the nurses confidence — before they would delay the infusion for another week or so to get training sorted. Multiple myeloma patients have months to live so you can’t afford to delay their treatment.”

READ MORE: VRHealth and Oculus Form Partnership to Integrate Virtual Reality (VR) into Healthcare

The panel of judges, comprised of patients, patient advocates, healthcare professionals, and pharmaceutical executives, spoke very highly of the system for its ability to build nurse’s confidence prior to giving a patient their first infusion.

The launch of this system builds on Janssen’s VR experimentation in healthcare, with its SchizoLab using VR to simulate symptoms of schizophrenia to give individuals a better understanding of what living with the disease is like. Similar VR technologies have been used to simulate dementia symptoms to enlighten those unaffected as to what patients are going through. These systems allow providers to experience what the symptoms are truly like, allowing them to sympathize with their patients.

Sources: Policy Med, EyeforPharma,

Jack holds a biology degree from Penn State University, and has a keen interest in how new medical technologies are changing the future of healthcare. Reach out to Jack if you have a compelling story idea or with feedback about past articles.