Immersive technology such as virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR) has seen a number of uses in medicine, from helping to explain complex medical conditions, to pain relief or overcoming phobias. The staff at one of the largest Children’s hospitals in the UK is now looking at using that technology to help improve outcomes in surgical procedures.
Alder Hey Hospital cares for over 270,000 young people and their families each year. The staff at the hospital want to use the Microsoft HoloLens in operating theatres, and large-screen Surface Hubs in meeting rooms.
Using the HoloLens will allow surgeons and other staff to see up-to-date information on a patient whilst an operating is in progress. The Surface Hub will allow for electronic collaboration and storage of things such as charts, tests and medical images that are usually stored on paper, and often scattered in various locations.
“Imaging a patient’s heart from the inside and from the outside is absolutely essential,” said Rafael Guerrero, a Cardiac Surgeon at Alder Hey. “I have to visualize that 3D view in my head in order to do this operation. You can display those images on a screen in the operating theatre sometimes, but it’s not easily accessible; and I can’t leave in the middle of an operation to go get more information about my patient. In many cases, the heart has already stopped in order for us to operate.”
“Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality will, in the future, enable me to have a patient’s scans in front of me while I’m doing the operation,” Guerrero continued, “If I can use technology to obtain that information, to see those images in front of me, that helps me tremendously and improves the outcome for my patient.”
Alder Hey Hospital is working with Microsoft partner Black Marble to develop custom applications for introducing the technology. For future coverage of the Microsoft HoloLens and other VR products and services, keep checking back with VRFocus.