Virtual reality, augmented reality, and the Metaverse are all tools we’ve previously highlighted, showing how they’ve made employees and businesses approach their work differently.
Now, a South Florida team is hoping to use some of those tools to change how one particular industry trains its employees.
There’s no shortage of technology we use on any given day and that’s partly why South Florida considers itself a tech hub, poised to rival places like Silicon Valley.
In Local 10′s newly titled series, “Technically Speaking,” we highlight technology and innovation and how those tools are being used in multiple ways across South Florida to build toward the future.
Today, we’re inviting you into a virtual world hoping to make the physical world a whole lot easier.
We’re used to technology opening a door into another world, another reality of opportunity. We’ve seen examples from gaming, to real estate, even military training.
But what if extensive forms of training could be made easier and more efficient with something as readily accessible as a phone or an iPad?
Edwin Rivera thinks he has the answer to that question.
Rivera is Miami born and raised and is a former Marine Corps veteran with a passion for healthcare and helping others -- a self-described problem solver.
Having wanted to be a pharmacist growing up, Rivera put his effort toward that goal after returning home from Operation Desert Storm, but after years in the industry, he hit a wall.
“That’s when I started to realize, ‘Hey, we’re having an antiquated healthcare system and there’s a lot of needs for technology,’” he said.
From there, Rivera transitioned into technology, spending more than a decade as an entrepreneur in the space.
In 2021, he co-founded what he believes will change the medical field -- “Reality Hub.”
Rivera describes the company as “Netflix for hospitals” -- a way to use virtual or augmented reality to train hospital personnel on a variety of equipment, devices and other items they use.
Whether that’s defibrillators or surgical tools, it’s all based on guidelines by the manufacturer and the FDA.
It’s like having a technician in your pocket for instant, hands-on training.
“We have content that is driven on augmented reality or virtual reality that we make accessible to a subscription to health systems,” Rivera said. “It is absolutely cataloged and it’s a customizable catalog to that health system.”
In one walkthrough, Rivera explains how this technology allows him to get a better understanding of a defibrillator, by specifically overlaying its digital counterpart on top of it -- all without having to actually touch it.
“Then from there, we can go step by step. And you can do all kinds of different things, right -- something as simple as turning it on, or replacing the battery,” he explained.
In another example, we’re able to see a device used for spinal surgery, without any sort of physical anchor for that same product.
Instead, it’s virtually presented through the screen in front of us with supplemental videos and instructions popping up along the way.
It’s an expansive, yet convenient way to approach what can be an exhaustive and costly process for health care systems. They would no longer need to organize on-site trainings with a manufacturer or risk damaging medical instruments.
“All the content comes from the hospital,” Rivera said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. So we adhere to what’s approved by the FDA in a pdf format and all we’re doing is activating that pdf. That’s all we’re doing.”
Rivera believes his work is part of a larger tapestry in the South Florida technology scene.
The tech boom, he says, is here and the area is establishing itself as a prime location for growth and influence.
“It’s in the DNA of the city. This community is very entrepreneurial, and it was only a matter of time before that DNA matured into a real ecosystem that can help foster young startups. We’re there now,” he said.
For Rivera, this journey has become a full-circle moment – leaving health care because of its logistical complexity, only to come back with a proposed solution to the problems of years before.
“As surprising as it is that I’m back in healthcare, I’m back for a reason,” Rivera said. “I believe that we can make a difference, and isn’t that what all good startups are about? Believing in something that they can make a difference in? We’re no exception.”
Right now, the company is in a private beta with three health systems across the U.S., according to Rivera.
He also tells us they’re in contact with several more health systems for their technology and plans to keep establishing partnerships to help continued expansion in the near future.