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Hollywood Visual F/X Company Coming To Shreveport To Make VR Medical Training

Courtesy; BioFlightVR

MEDICAL VIRTUAL REALITY- A new high-tech company is coming to Shreveport that will offer virtual reality training for healthcare providers, caregivers, and patients. Shreveport Next, a division of BRF – (formerly known as the Biomedical Research Foundation) announced the California-based company Bioflight-VR, a company that got it’s start working in Hollywood has been recruited to the area. Rik Shorten is company co-founder.

“The creative team at BioFlightVR had worked on Hollywood movies and television shows like ‘CSI’ and ‘ER’ and ‘Gray’s Anatomy’ doing visual representations and medical procedures,” Shorten said. “And we thought we could elevate education and learning opportunities using VR as a platform. If we’re able to take some of that Hollywood visuals and put them into medical learning.”

Now a large city like Los Angeles has plenty of hospitals and med schools to choose from as far as getting content experts is concerned. So why would a Virtual Reality company wanting to break into the medical training business come to Shreveport?

BioFlightVR is developing virtual reality (VR) medical training programs for healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients to learn how to properly deal with medical procedures and devices.
Courtesy: BioFlightVR
BioFlightVR is developing virtual reality (VR) medical training programs for healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients to learn how to properly deal with medical procedures and devices.

“We’re producers and developers and coders and animators so we need access to a team of highly-qualified practitioners and Shreveport’s a health-hub,” Shorten explained. “Whether you’re looking at LSU or Ochsner or some of the other larger partners in the city, we knew we could get access to them where maybe it’s a little bit more difficult in Los Angeles.”

Another incentive to come to Shreveport was getting a local workforce that has the necessary skills in digital animation and imaging. Shorten says Shreveport’s Digital Media Institute, DMI for short, offers a pipeline of talent to fill those slots.

Rik Shorten is co-founder of BioFlightVR
Courtesy: R. Shorten LinkedIn
Rik Shorten is co-founder of BioFlightVR

“In order to grow we need developers, we need animators, we need a steady supply of new talent that’s coming out and is motivated in the region to join a company like BioFlightVR and we’re able to find that through DMI,” Shorten said.

The company has already developed a commercial VR product that will soon be released called CareXR. It’s a Virtual Reality program for surgical teams to educate and train parents and caregivers on at-home, post-clinic handling of pediatric patient needs concerning feeding tubes, tracheostomy tubes and medical devices such as peripherally inserted central catheters and more. And while the work may not sound as glamorous as working on Hollywood films and TV shows, Shorten says the application of the virtual reality technology in healthcare and positive feedback is satisfying.

“And I think we were ready to use those talents for something other than in entertainment and I think there’s definitely a purpose and a mission. And we’re talking to local hospitals about to starting to deploy an onboard using the technology. So for us it’s just like it’s a kind of a synthesis of all of our talents and abilities in seeing real outcomes and real impact that’s important,” Shorten explained.

You can learn more about the work being done by this company at the website: www.bioflightvr.com/

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.