Doctors at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have been piloting the use of mixed reality technology in their rounds of wards for patients with coronavirus.
They are testing the possibility that it could reduce the number of clinicians needed at a patient’s bedside.
Doctors at the London trust have been using Microsoft HoloLens devices, equipped with Remote Assist and Microsoft Teams software, with just one entering the ward and sending a live video feed to computer screen in a different room.
The headset projects holograms onto the headset screen, sharing medical notes, scans and x-rays alongside the user’s view of patients. The wearer is able to interact with the software using gestures and voice.
Dr Louis Koizia, consultant physician and geriatrician at Imperial College Healthcare, said: “We have been able to limit the amount of healthcare professionals needing to be physically present at the patient’s bedside during ward round but still been able to provide the best possible care.”
HoloLens has been used by surgeons and interventional radiologists at the trust since 2017. Early research on its use in coronavirus wards has shown that it has saved up to 83% of staff time spent within them, and is reducing the trust’s need for personal protective equipment as it is only needed by the doctor wearing the headset.
Image from Imperial College NHS Trust