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Attensi and EGGS Design Have Won an Innovation Contract With St Olav. They Will Develop the Next Generation of Training for Health Workers and Students Within the Field of Mental Health


Solid skills in reading, interpreting, and handling meetings with people with mental health issues take time to develop. For students and professionals within the mental health field, it is a challenge to manage to do enough training in addition to meeting with actual patients.

Over the next 12 months, about 20% of the Norwegian population will have developed some form of mental illness (source: FHI), and a correct assessment and handling are critical to a good recovery. For this reason, the next-generation training solution will now be developed, where health care staff, through gamification and avatars, will get real quantity training in observing and communicating observations of psychological challenges.

A challenge to make correct assessments

There is a great number of health care staff involved in the investigation, diagnostics, and treatment of people with mental illnesses, and it can be a challenging task. Students within healthcare often state that they feel that practical experience related to mental health is often extra challenging. Many newly employed within health care experience that they haven’t received enough training in doing observations. The theoretical knowledge is there, but they lack practical experience and satisfying amounts of quantity training to make them comfortable meeting people with mental illnesses.

The mental health care unit at St Olav’s Hospital receives 16,000 unique patients and gives around 200,000 consultations every year. With a total of 1,600 employees working with children, young, and adults with varying mental health issues, and with the responsibility for the training of students and other health care staff, they have a need for an innovative and effective solution for training.

Due to this, St. Olav’s Hospital will develop a tool to give students and employees access to realistic patient encounters in a virtual setting. Attensi AS will therefore develop a platform for this type of training, as well as a first module. EGGS Design will contribute with user-oriented innovation methodology and implementation support.

Attensi AS and EGGS Design are entering an innovation partnership together with St. Olav’s Hospital HF for the development of the next generation’s VR solution. 7.9 million NOK will be invested in the project for Attensi and EGGS Design. The development project will start in the fall of 2021 and is expected to be finished by the end of 2022.

"It’s incredibly exciting to be able to contribute to developing a simulator that will reduce the gap between theory and practice," says Bjarne Johnson, Sales Director in Attensi.

The use of technological simulation is well-established in both undergraduate as well as graduate studies within health. Simulation is essential to ensure quality in the health services for the population. However, within the mental health field, there hasn’t been established significant technological training, even though it is essential that students meet a certain amount of patients in different clinical situations. St Olav’s Hospital now wishes to take a step further to increase the possibilities of practical training.

"With easy access to simulated quantity training in realistic situations, the students and other health care staff can get a completely new tool to use in their training and professional development," says Vegard Vestvik, Clinical Manager at St. Olav’s Hospital.

"The field of mental health lacks a technological solution that enables quantity training in doing observations of mental illnesses. This is a unique opportunity to develop something that can give – and in the long term, the services – within mental health, is a great improvement," says idea owner Solveig Klæbo Reitan, chief physician at St. Olav’s Hospital and professor at NTNU.

The training will focus on developing skills in how to ‘read,' interpret, and handle different situations and patients. They will put high demands on both the visual and textual context, explains Bjarne Johnson, sales director in Attensi. The avatars will speak and express themselves just like actual patients, which puts high demands on animations, facial expressions, movements, and speech. To make the training even more realistic, the simulation will be built with voice control so that the users will actually have to say the right things with the correct tone of voice to the ‘patient' and not simply refer to that they know what they should have said.

"As a psychologist, technologist, and former practice supervisor at the University of Oslo, I have often thought about the challenge that psychology, medical and nursing students have in getting enough quantity training in such an important field as the contact with mentally ill. For me, it took many months after graduation to achieve this. Regular training in patient contact and assessment is largely theoretical, and at best, one-on-one. Both these types are important and useful, but they don’t ensure a real quantity training that is repeatable, systematic, and realistic. Our solution will be able to offer this," says Gaute Godager, Creative Leader in Attensi.

The project plans for a user-oriented innovation process and will involve students, health care staff, educational supervisors, and other practitioners from start to end. By understanding the users’ everyday work and study situations, we can identify the best contexts for simulation as a training form and create good entry points and user journeys with the technology. That way, we can ensure that the solution is useful, accessible, and user-friendly.

"Simulation and gamification will probably be experienced as something new and little unconventional to many that work within mental health. Even if it’s not exactly scary to use the new technology, it will probably be somewhat of a threshold for many in a busy work or student day. How can we prepare to lower the threshold so that the solution will be used again and again and give the quantity training we wish to achieve? This is what we’re considering a central problem to solve through design in this project, and we’re looking forward to working with it," says Ingvill Hoffart, Creative Leader of Service Design in EGGS Design in Trondheim.

About Attensi

Attensi is a Norwegian company specialized in simulation-based training and has grown to become a global leader within the field. All of Attensi’s solutions are developed for reaching measurable improvement in competence and behavior and to create measurable gains for businesses and organizations by directly impacting key figures positively. The training solution combines advanced 3D modeling with deep insight into human behavior and psychology. Regardless of the training being on mobile, desktop, or in VR, Attensi’s gamified solutions give users the possibility to learn new skills and behaviors in a fun and engaging manner.

Attensi has delivered services in more than 100 countries, in 20 different languages, and has around 150 employees. Attensi has its headquarters in Oslo, with additional offices in the UK and the USA.

About EGGS Design

EGGS Design is an independent innovation consultancy, helping clients craft new products, services, and business transformations. They create innovations, applications, experiences, products, and services that provide added value and establish organizational efficiency. By focusing on people and stakeholders, they deliver business tools that foster innovation and new business opportunities. EGGS Design works holistically to ensure that human insights align with technology, brand, and business.

About St. Olav’s Hospital HF

St. Olav’s Hospital is a university hospital that offers specialized treatment to the population. In addition, the hospital has responsibilities within research, education of health care staff, and training of patients and next of kin.

Innovation Norway

Innovation Norway has as its purpose to generate increased value for Norwegian businesses. This should be achieved by ensuring that new businesses survive and develop, that businesses grow and become competitive, and by creating a suitable environment for innovation.


NTNU at the faculty for medicine and health sciences offers a broad spectrum of research environments within the fields of medicine and health, and offer education within different areas of medicine and health, and educate qualified candidates to most areas of the health sector, as well as health-related research, business, and management. NTNU participates as a collaborator in the innovation partnership.

Melhus Municipality

Melhus Municipality is the sixth-largest municipality in the Trøndelag region, with its 16.700 inhabitants. The municipal health and care services cover the citizens' needs, from children and young to adults and elderly, with a series of different problems, diagnoses, and disabilities. The service has grown significantly and has received many new user groups, and has undertaken a series of new responsibilities over the past 20 years. This way, the service has become a care service for everyone who needs support and assistance, help, and care. The need and potential for new innovation and finding new solutions to meet future challenges is therefore big. The Melhus Municipality participates as a collaborator in the innovation partnership.

Other participants in the project

  • Sykehusinnkjøp HF
  • Helse Midt-Norge IKT
  • Digitaliseringsdirektoratet (Digdir)
  • Nasjonalt program for leverandørutvikling
  • Helse Midt-Norge
  • Helse Fonna
  • Helse Stavanger
  • Nord Universitet

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