A major teaching hospital on London, UK, is using the Microsoft HoloLens on its COVID-19 wards to keep doctors safer as they help patients with the virus.
Staff at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust are wearing the HoloLens with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist using Microsoft Teams to send a secure live video-feed to a computer screen in a nearby room, allowing healthcare teams to see everything the doctor treating Covid-19 patients can see, while remaining at a safe distance.
This has resulted in a fall in the amount of time staff are spend in high-risk areas of up to 83% and it has also significantly reducing the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) being used, as only the doctor wearing the headset has to dress in PPE by up to 700 items of PPE per ward, per week.
James Kinross, a consultant surgeon at Imperial College Healthcare and senior lecturer at Imperial College London, said: “Protecting staff was a major motivating factor for this work, but so was protecting patients. If our staff are ill they can transmit disease and they are unable to provide expert medical care to those who needed it most.”
Kinross, who had used the HoloLens for surgery before, noted that it had unique features, such as being a hands-free solution that could be used with PPE, and that it already featured telemedicine capabilities.
“It solved a major problem for us during a crisis, by allowing us to keep treating very ill patients while limiting our exposure to a deadly virus. Not only that, it reduced our PPE consumption and significantly improved the efficiency of our ward rounds,” he noted.
Using Remote Assist, doctors wearing HoloLens on the Covid-19 wards can hold hands-free Teams video calls with colleagues and experts anywhere in the world. They can receive advice, interacting with the caller and the patient at the same time, while medical notes and X-rays can also be placed alongside the call in the wearer’s field of view.
“We’re now looking into other areas where we can use HoloLens because it is improving healthcare without removing the human; you still have a doctor next to your bed, treating you,” Kinross said. “Patients like it, too. They are interested in this new piece of technology that’s helping them.”
See the system in action below:
HoloLens is also being used to teach students at Imperial College London’s medical school, regarded as one of the best in the world, after the Covid-19 pandemic led to the academic areas to close “practically overnight”, Kinross said. Students can use laptops and mobile devices at home to watch a live feed from lecturers wearing HoloLens and learn about a range of topics including anatomy, surgery and cardiology.
Other NHS institutions trying out the HoloLens include the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, University College London Hospitals, The Leeds Teaching Hospital and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust.