CAMBRIDGE, UK — Future doctors at a UK hospital have become the first in the world to train with holographic patients.
Wearing mixed reality headsets, students can treat virtual patients using technology that mimics medical situations. Researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge developed this pioneering technology. During the simulation, medical students encounter a virtual patient with symptoms – such as asthma – and must make real-time decisions about their care.
National Health Service director Stephen Powis said the new technology would help train the next generation of doctors by enabling them to practice medicine in real time. The first training module presents a hologram of an asthmatic patient, followed by scenarios of anaphylaxis, blockage of a blood vessel and pneumonia. Other modules in cardiology and neurology are currently under development.
“The NHS has always been at the forefront of medical innovation, and this unique development by teams at Cambridge – to use holographic patients in medical education – could improve the learning experience of our next generation of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, creating new environments for practicing medicine in real time, while improving access to training around the world,” says Professor Sir Stephen Powis, the NHS national medical director, in a Press release.
Bringing Medical School to the Virtual Classroom
The new training method competes with conventional resources for learning, such as textbooks, dummies, and computer software. Named HoloScenarios, the mixed reality technology is now available for licensing to medical institutions around the world, with the developers claiming it offers a cost-effective and flexible training resource.
Mixed reality allows users to interact with and manipulate physical and virtual elements and environments. It is similar to the well-known and fully immersive virtual reality (VR), which places the user entirely in a digital world.
“Mixed reality is increasingly recognized as a useful method of simulator training. As institutions increase their purchases, the demand for platforms that offer utility and ease of use mixed reality learning management is growing rapidly,” says Dr Arun Gupta, consultant anesthetist at Cambridge University Hospitals.
“Our research aims to uncover how such simulations can best support learning and accelerate the adoption of effective mixed reality training while informing ongoing development,” says Riikka Hofmann, a professor in the department of education at the University of Cambridge.
“We hope this will help guide institutions in implementing mixed reality. in their programsin the same way that institutions evaluate conventional resources, such as manuals, mannequins, models, or computer software, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Addenbrooke’s Hospital developed the new mixed reality technology in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Los Angeles-based tech company GigXR.
“Giving instructors 360-degree preparation for clinical practice is an important step for GigXR that allows us to provide our customers with a library of applications that provide solutions for students, from their first class to continuing education,” David concludes. King Lassman, founder of GigXR. .
“Our first HoloScenarios module represents a new and incredibly powerful way to use mixed reality for healthcare training, which will be followed by many more modules and new apps coming soon.”
Reporting by South West News Service editor Ben Turner.