NHS VR Experience Delivers Blood ID and Storage Training

What is it?

The Bloodstream app is designed to show learners the consequences of administering a transfusion following incorrect blood identification, emphasizing the relationship between blood identification processes and patient wellbeing.

The client for this project is NHSBT, the National Health Service Blood and Transplant in the UK. They are a key authority in the country’s healthcare system, responsible for blood donation and organ transplantation services. NHSBT needed a consistently repeatable learning experience that enabled learners to practise procedures without having to use lab resources, in a risk free environment and in their own time.

This learning experience is intended to be used as a training tool primarily for recently qualified doctors and biomedical students, particularly for those participating in the Practical Introduction to Transfusion Science (PITS) training course.

NHSBT’s challenge

Recently qualified doctors and biomedical students will have a good overall understanding of medicine, but may have little or no experience of blood transfusion. Mistakes in identifying blood types or in assigning an incorrect blood type for transfusion can have serious, potentially fatal, consequences for patients. NHSBT needed a way for students to repeatedly and consistently practise the procedures for identifying blood types and matching patients to suitable transfusion blood packs. This should take place in a safe environment where the consequences are made clear, without putting actual patients at risk or consuming valuable resources.

Our solution

The VR experience was designed to serve as a practical, immersive supplement to the theoretical knowledge that the learners have, providing a safe environment for them to learn and understand the consequences of their actions without risking patient safety.


  • Interactive VR Experience: The learner is placed in a simulated environment where they can interact with various elements such as blood bags, a patient, and transfusion equipment. They are guided through the process of initiating a transfusion and can see the outcomes of their decisions in real-time.
  • Scenario-Based Learning: The VR experience presents a scenario where the learner has to administer a blood transfusion to a patient. The consequences of their actions (i.e., whether they chose the correct or incorrect blood type) are then shown, providing immediate feedback and reinforcing the importance of correct blood identification.
  • 3D Models and Animations: The experience includes 3D models of transfusion equipment, the environment, and characters. There are animations showing the outcomes of the learner’s decisions, such as the successful integration of transfused blood or the bursting of red blood cells in the case of an incorrect transfusion.
  • Accessibility and Branding: The experience is designed with accessibility in mind, including clear labels on buttons and optimal colors for usability. The look and feel adhered to NHSBT’s brand guidelines.

The outcome

NHSBT was pleased to have a product to fill this gap in training capability. In particular, the fidelity of the 3D models and environment in relation to the real-world lab environment was well-received.

The experience

Watch the video to see some key moments from the experience. 

Further applications

Because outcomes, both positive and negative, are a very important aspect of acquiring blood transfusion skills, this simulation has a large number of possible outcomes depending on the choices the learner makes. This required a comprehensive and detailed test strategy to ensure all possible outcomes were fully tested. This experience has informed and improved our quality assurance approach for subsequent projects.

The development of this solution required us to use specialist shaders to ensure blood and other liquids looked realistic (a shader is code that controls how 3D objects appear in the scene). We also created bespoke logic to ensure the handling of pipettes in VR reflected the most important criteria for handling the real-world item, for example, applying the correct pressure when using the pipette. These developments have further application to other projects that require realistic presentation of liquids or for learners to use pipettes or similar devices.

Key Facts
Date Deployed
Oculus Quest
Key Features
Updated training experience
Complex interactions simulation
Designed to reduce finite materials wastage
Further Info

Get in touch

We’re always happy to talk to you about how immersive technologies can engage your employees and customers. If you have a learning objective in mind, or simply want to know more about emerging technologies like VR, AR, or AI, send us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.