As a member of the Microsoft HoloLens product and engineering team, I get to see some pretty cool things on a regular basis. Any day of the week, I have a front-row seat to see how our teams, customers, and partners are making a world where mixed reality changes the way we live, work, play, and learn. I’m consistently amazed by the creative ways HoloLens is being used to solve complex problems, improve business outcomes and results, and change the way we interact with technology.
Today, I have the privilege of sharing with you one of the latest examples of HoloLens innovation that is happening, this time within the healthcare sector.
The operating room as it exists today
Stryker, a leading global medical technology company, has set out to improve the process for designing operating rooms for hospitals and surgery centers.
You may not be aware of it, but surgical disciplines from general, to urologic, orthopedic, cardiac, and ear nose and throat (ENT) use shared operating rooms. These specialties have widely different needs when it comes to operating room configuration and setup. Everything from lighting, to equipment, tools, and even patient orientation, varies depending on who is using the operating room at any given moment. Equipment placement is critical as it effects ergonomics, efficiency, and task load, all of which have the potential to burden staff and slow procedures.
Today, for hospitals to successfully design operating rooms that will accommodate these various medical disciplines, a critical meeting must take place. In this meeting, the heads of each surgical discipline, along with their staff, are physically present to outline the desired layout and implementation needed to successfully complete their procedures. This is a complicated and time-consuming process where people and a complex array of technology and equipment are shuffled around to determine what goes where, and when, to see how it will all fit.
Stryker is using HoloLens to build the operating room of the future
Recognizing that the current model of operating room design needs to be evolved from 2D to 3D, and knowing that the needs of these specialties can be quite divergent, Stryker has found a way to design a shared operating room that can accommodate all surgical disciplines in a far more efficient manner.
Using HoloLens and Stryker’s new By Design solution, hospital stakeholders are now able to envision the ideal operating room configuration with the power of holograms and the benefit of mixed reality.
Instead of needing all of the people from each surgical discipline, all the physical equipment required across all medical disciplines, all in one room at the same time, Stryker is now able to modify and build different operating room scenarios with holograms. No more time-consuming sessions where everyone needs to be physically present and no more need to move around heavy and expensive equipment to get a sense for how everything all fits together.
What does this look like? Here is a peek into how operating rooms of the future will be designed using HoloLens.
As you can see, through the mixed reality capabilities of HoloLens, a design can be created and adjusted without the need of a complicated mock operating room setup. Teams of surgeons can collaborate in a conference room, their office, or work with holograms, at full size and scale, in the actual operating room – no bulky equipment required, just a headset. This allows teams to move quickly from envisioning to execution, improving the operating room for surgeons, staff, and ultimately the patients they care for. Furthermore, the process benefits from the advantage of 3D. Stryker can break free of 2D limitations, making it easier for people to visualize a finished project, reduce design errors, save time, and allow facilities to open faster.
Since the release of HoloLens just under a year ago, we have seen quite a few companies using HoloLens and the potential of holograms and mixed reality to drive innovation and make a difference within the healthcare space.
For example, CAE, a global leader in modeling and simulation recently shared a new solution they created called VimedixAR. Their solution uses HoloLens to create mixed reality ultrasound simulations with the goal of improving patient safety and outcomes. With their approach, CAE is helping doctors, ultrasound technicians, and students visualize complex organs (like the heart and lungs) using holograms, ultimately improving their ability to identify potential issues.
In addition, my friends at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic are training the next generation of doctors and surgeons by helping them learn and understand human anatomy in completely new ways. It has been quite inspiring to see what they have done using HoloLens.
On behalf of everyone on the HoloLens team, I share my thanks and admiration for every one of our customers, partners, and developers who are creating the future with mixed reality. The work you are doing to bring the potential of mixed reality to people and organizations across the globe is truly inspiring.
I can’t wait to see what’s next!
Start developing on HoloLens and join us on our mixed reality journey. HoloLens available now at the Microsoft Store.