Imagine your future lab - Designed using Virtual Reality and Computer Simulation

Executive Summary

Until recently, the only way for leaders of diagnostics laboratories to examine what future lab set-ups might look like was to view a cardboard model. Unfortunately, cardboard representations of proposed lab architecture provide limited insights into how this future lab might work, or if it would work at all.
Now, with the emergence of new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and computer simulations, it is much easier for lab leaders to test whether their potential new labs work as envisioned, even before any of the components have been ordered.

Virtual Reality in Healthcare

Another technological innovation in healthcare, virtual reality (VR), is growing rapidly in importance, value and impact.
The consultants at Roche Healthcare Consulting – a new service established by Roche Diagnostics – are experts in how to use VR and computer simulations to aid lab leaders’ decision making.
VR is growing rapidly in importance, value and impact. A recent report found that while there were around 7 million VR headsets in use worldwide in 2016, this number is expected to swell to 37 million by 2020, and to more than a billion in 2021.1 Although the primary use of VR is still gaming, the use of VR in hospitals is expected to rise exponentially, with the VR healthcare market projected to be worth $5.1 billion by 2025.2 With its advanced, high-quality VR models, Roche Healthcare Consulting now leads the diagnostic laboratory consulting sector in its use of VR in healthcare. Roche Diagnostics is also pioneering the techniques required
to design entire labs in real-time VR, down to the smallest architectural details and specifications of each instrument. This approach opens the door to a new level of engagement between consultant and client.

Virtual Reality
RHC Projects 2017

Roche Healthcare Consulting’s proprietary simulator platform

To determine the impact of new laboratory configurations, Roche Healthcare Consulting uses a proprietary simulation platform that has been developed by simulation experts at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences and is based on the well-established Simio software, widely acknowledged as a pan-industrial benchmark of quality in professional simulation.5

This platform provides a starting point for the consulting process by allowing Roche Healthcare Consulting teams to run a simulation of a specific laboratory’s workload and test profiles, which is based on data exported directly from the informatics system of the laboratory. From this complex information, the platform produces a simulation that pinpoints exactly how factors such as throughput, workload distribution and turn-around time are affected by the proposed solution. For instance, consultants can identify peaks in the workload and then align with the lab manager in planning a solution that will fulfil a laboratory’s KPIs now and in the years to come.

Across more than 60 countries - in all regions - 250 Roche Healthcare Consultants are fully trained in using the simulation platform.


In vitro diagnostics are a crucial source of objective information for improved disease management and patient care, and Roche Diagnostics strongly believes that the more questions laboratories can answer, the more lives can be saved.

Roche Healthcare Consulting embraces the best technology and partnerships that leverage the power of its unique structure to advance science and develop new therapies. Roche Diagnostics’ innovations in simulation and VR provide key benefits to modern diagnostic labs that actively address the challenges lab leaders are currently facing.

Roche Healthcare Consulting’s simulation platform allows lab managers to evaluate and compare a variety of setup options, enabling consultants to advise labs on the best options for containing costs and increasing response time. The simulator also helps laboratories to be more versatile, by providing easy-to-read data on how throughput, workload distribution and turn-around time are affected by a comprehensive range of setups.

Roche Healthcare Consulting’s innovative use of technology sets the organization apart from other diagnostic consultants. Whether it is with the proven methodology of Roche Healthcare Consulting’s simulator, or how the decisions made through consultation with the simulator output into a fully-designed VR laboratory, Roche Healthcare Consulting is proud to be helping laboratories to do now what their patients need next.

Virtual Reality


Giulia Asquer

Giulia Asquer

International Product Manager Simulators Roche Healthcare Consulting

Christopher Grieser

Christopher Grieser

Head of Roche Diagnostics’ Lab Design, Visualization & Virtual Reality department

  1. Statista (2018). Virtual reality (VR) – statistics and facts.
    Available at:
  2. Grand View Research (2017). Augmented reality (AR) & virtual reality (VR) in healthcare market analysis by component (hardware, software, and service), by technology (augmented reality, virtual reality), and segment forecasts, 2018 – 2025.
    Available at:
  3. Rohr U.P., et al. (2016). The value of in vitro diagnostic testing in medical practice: A status report. PloS One.
    Available at:
  4. Osaro, E., et al. (2014). Challenges of a negative work load and implications on morale, productivity and
    quality of service delivered in NHS laboratories in England.
    Available at:
  5. Simio (2017). Healthcare simulation and scheduling software.
    Available at: