Projects of RWTH Aachen University

RWTH Aachen University has worked on many different initiatives over the last couple of months. Here’s a summary of their accomplishments.

Virtual operating theatre tour

Anxiety is very common in patients prior to a surgery, leading to additional discomfort, increased pain sensation, and stress symptoms. The aim of the present SafePat study is to investigate the effect of virtual stimulus exposure on perioperative anxiety. For this purpose, patients take a virtual tour through the operating theatre, enabling them to explore the operating theatre environment in detail with the help of virtual reality glasses before the operation. In addition to the virtual exposure effect, the tour provides extensive information on anaesthesia and patient care. This strengthens the individual health literacy and is an important element of patient empowerment. A positive ethical approval was received in January 2020 and the expected start of the study will be in March 2020.

ECMO team training

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an intensive care medical procedure for mechanical takeover of the respiratory and/or cardial function. Its application is highly complex, prone to complications, and associated with manifold risks for the patients, making optimal staff training indispensable. In this project we develop, implement, and evaluate a simulation-based training for interprofessional teams of ECMO care. Our aim is to improve patient safety by an optimal training program which enhances team performance and reduces the occurrence of errors and complications. These trainings are currently being conducted.

Neuroradiology team training

Stroke is one of the most common serious diseases. The acute oxygen undersupply of brain regions due to vascular occlusion leads to irreversible cell death after only 10-30 minutes, making prompt treatment essential (“time is brain”). In this SafePat study we investigate the potential of team trainings with simulation to optimize the acute care of stroke patients. Specifically, we investigate whether simulation-based team training has a positive effect on the processing times for acute care and on health-related outcomes of the patients. The results of this study will thus essentially contribute to a better patient care in hospital settings and optimize medical procedures.


In September and October 2019, an online survey was carried out among University hospital RWTH Aachen (UKA) staff using the “Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture” (HSPSC). A total of 304 people from all professions took part in this survey. This is an excellent result. The results show that much has already been achieved in the area of patient safety and patient safety culture. In particular, the staff has a high level of awareness of patient safety. This has led to the development of a safety culture among the UKA employees.