Noora Health, a social enterprise focused on providing caregiver empowerment and education, does just that. The Noora Health team found that the family members were an untapped resource in the healthcare delivery process and designed a program that educates and engages family members in a way that has shown to have an impact on the health and well-being outcomes of patients.
Noora contracts with hospitals in India to offer their training. There we talked to the executives and senior doctors of a new hospital partner to ensure there was buy-in to the program at every level of operations. This is a time-consuming task for the Noora staff, but this investment of time upfront ensures that when the program launches, all the stakeholders in the hospital are invested in making the program succeed despite any challenges that might arise.
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For example, a common challenge Noora staff face when launching in a new hospital is the perception among nurses that the program will take more of their extremely scarce time. By involving nurses, nurse supervisors, and department heads in the planning of the program launch, Noora Health is able to show that over time the program will actually save nurses time. I met with executives at mid- to large-size private hospitals throughout India and asked them about how they perceive and value the benefits that Noora Health provides patients and family members.
There I watched the family members of cardiac patients soak up a video with key health information and skills in the local language of Kannada. A nurse intermittently stopped the video to test that the audience understood and absorbed the information. It was clear this was information and knowledge they had never had access to before, and given that their loved ones were in critical conditions, you could see in their eyes how they were eagerly taking it all in. In the next five years, we will see AR become a key technology for the medical field. Use of AR for things ranging from pain management to vitals monitoring to telehealth will become commonplace.
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In ten years, AR will become ubiquitous in operating rooms worldwide. In twenty years, we will look back on how we used to do medicine and wonder how we ever managed without this revolutionary technology. It will become a standard for everything. Use Cases. One aspect of medical AR is its clinical application. AccuVein, based in New York, uses near-infrared light to display veins on the surface of the human body.
AccuVein states that 40 percent of IVs miss the vein on the first attempt. This technology allows doctors and nurses to perform injections, draw blood, and set up IVs with precision. Founded in , AccuVein is now in over countries. Aira is using AR to help those with vision problems.
Using deep learning algorithms — a form of artificial intelligence — paired with AR glasses, or even a phone camera, Aira can talk the user through a variety of situations that are difficult for those who are blind or have limited vision. Users of the app can recognize faces or avoiding obstacles without seeing them. Amalgamated Vision is developing next-generation optical systems to power non-obstructive, ultra-near-to-eye virtual retinal displays.
There is no screen between the light source and the viewer; the image is perfectly clear even for people who need corrective lenses. The technology has the potential to revolutionize the way images are displayed in XR.
The use of AR for diagnostics and surgical applications is very compelling; transforming images traditionally viewed in photographic slices into 3D, in real-time without pre or post-processing facilitates organic viewing and more intuitive understanding. This takes the burden of reconstructing 3D images off of the diagnosing physicians and allows them to focus solely on making a diagnosis.
These features allow the doctor to focus on the task at hand without needing to spend time directly managing other devices or leaving the room to speak with experts. Boston-based Brain Power uses its software suite — The Empowered Brain — to help children and adults with autism learn life skills.
It also uses data collection and analytics to customize feedback for each individual patient.
Translation and interpreting
Brain Power has been operating since EchoPixel uses specialized displays, such as the 3D zSpace display, allowing users to view 3D models of patient anatomy floating outside the display. Users can inspect patient-specific organs by rotating them and zooming in and out to see different features of the selected organ. Based in Brighton, UK, and founded by Dr.
Charles Nduka and Graeme Cox, Emteq has leveraged grants in order to develop its hardware and software solutions. The company has patented and prototyped a glasses-based system for a facial expression sensing platform, which allows emotional responses to be measured in the real world. It enables facially expressive avatars. The UK government is funding a study to create a social interaction training system for autistic teenagers.
Maestro Games uses classical music to simulate the experience of conducting an orchestra, with the environment responding to your movements and the music. This gives a sense of empowerment and calm and has been used to treat PTSD. SimX uses AR to replace training mannequins used by doctors with virtual patients. Not only is this more versatile, with customizable scenarios for training, but it costs less than one-tenth of the price of a traditional training mannequin.
Trainees are able to collaborate in a shared simulation, mimicking real-world situations.
While these technologies are developed or under development, there are many obstacles related to AR in medicine. Due to the newness of this technology, regulatory bodies and insurance companies have not yet caught up.
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FDA approvals take time, slowing adoption of groundbreaking technologies that could save lives. Concerns surrounding sterilization of equipment, with many head-mounted displays being lined with foam or made of plastic, becomes a complicated process. Insurance companies, for the most part, are not set up to pay for or reimburse the use of these types of technologies, therefore leaving the patient responsible for the associated costs. There is also a subset of AR in medicine for training. If a picture is worth a thousand words and a video worth a million words, an AR experience is worth a billion words.
The ability to see and interact creates a depth of experience that is almost as valuable as the real experience. The hardware is not something to be overlooked. There are a number of competitors in the space, with new devices being released yearly.
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While it is certainly too early to choose a winner in terms of medical use, there are a few stand-outs. Google Glass was the original device in this category. First shown at a Foundation Fighting Blindness event it has been used to stream live video of surgeries, consultation with remote experts and even for recording and transcription of electronic health records from patient videos.
HoloLens has also been used by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic to develop a mixed reality education system for teaching anatomy.