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Driving immersive technology forward: special interest group launch

Digital Health Ecosystem Wales (DHEW) and Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW) are coming together, alongside others in health, social care, and academia, to embrace the power of immersive technology and drive innovation to the frontline.

Immersive technology is gaining momentum. Recent years have shown a marked uptake across academia, health, and social care. The launch of Wales’ first Virtual Hospital in February 2022 sees virtual reality being used to address learning experiences and maximise clinical opportunities, whilst elsewhere it’s being used to distract patients during painful procedures.

The immersive technology special interest group will bring together people from health, social care, and academia to:

  • Explore, test, and validate new technologies.
  • Share ideas, expertise, and experiences.
  • Maximise collaboration and minimise the duplication of work across disciplines.
  • Identify where the focus of immersive technologies needs to be in health and social care.


Dr Huw Williams, Chair of the Immersive Technology Special Interest Group and Senior Clinical Lecturer in Emergency Medicine at Cardiff University, said:

"It is a pleasure to be asked to chair this new, exciting group for the Life Science Hub, which will see HEIW, the rest of NHS Wales and Welsh Universities working together to determine the best route forward for virtual and extended reality in the healthcare setting. There is undoubtedly many benefits waiting to be unlocked over the coming years. This special interest group will draw upon expertise across Wales, to enable interested parties in the healthcare sector to innovate (and importantly evaluate) solutions both for staff training and for our patients. I look forward to working in this partnership."

The first meeting of the group will be taking place online on Friday 28 July at 2 – 3pm where we can begin to work together to drive this innovation forward and find new ways of unlocking the exciting potential of immersive technology.

Delyth James, Programme Manager of DHEW, commented:

“I’m excited that our Immersive Technology Special Interest Group will bring clinicians and academics together to embrace the potential of this innovative approach. In working collaboratively, we can explore what is possible with immersive technologies. We can understand where the greatest areas of opportunity are in health and social care to apply these technologies. And we have the potential to shape the future of patient care, staff training, research, and education."

Pushpinder Mangat, Medical Director at Health Education Improvement Wales, said:

“We are really pleased to support this special interest group. We know immersive technology will benefit our learners. By sharing our skills we can ensure we improve patient care now and in the future and enhance current and future workforce skills.”

To register your interest in joining the group, please complete the registration of interest form. We look forward to seeing you there.


Published 26 July 2023