Secondary Care

Morecambe Bay pilots Microsoft mixed reality tech

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT has recently trialed the mixed reality headset, HoloLens 2 from Microsoft, on a respiratory ward during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The headsets are supporting staff safely care for patients with coronavirus symptoms, to reduce the need for multiple staff to be in contact with patients at one time, and as a result reduce the amount of Personal Protective Equipment used.

Last month HTN reported that Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have been using the mixed-reality tool on COVID-19 wards. The trust found using the technology it reduced the amount of time staff are spending in high-risk areas by up to 83%.

Dr Timothy Gatheral, Respiratory Consultant, UHMBT, said “HoloLens 2 is an exciting piece of technology that offers the capability to minimise face to face contact with patients who have symptoms of coronavirus whilst ensuring they receive immediate access to expert specialist opinion on the ward.”

“Minimising the number of physical contacts with infected cases helps to keep patients and staff safe. This also offers huge promise in accessing specialist opinion more easily out of routine hours and for educational purposes. I hope that new and innovative ways of working will be at least one positive outcome from the pandemic which has caused so much grief and sadness in our community.”

The headset is worn by a healthcare professional when carrying out a ward round with patients who have symptoms of coronavirus. The headsets are linked up to a Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app which uses Microsoft Teams to send a secure live video feed to a computer screen, for a nurse or specialty/senior doctor at distance, to review.

Dr Colin Brown, Chief Clinical Information Officer, UHMBT, said “Protecting our staff and patients during the pandemic was a major motivating factor for the Trust introducing HoloLens 2. We needed an innovative solution and HoloLens 2 offers our staff safe, hands-free equipment that can be worn while wearing PPE.”

“Our infection prevention team has done a fantastic job of creating a decontamination Standard Operating Procedure to ensure the headsets themselves are not an infection risk.”

“The multifunctional headsets can be used for training, supervision and teaching purposes and could be a fantastic future benefit for our staff and students/trainees in the future. We are looking at other ways of using the headsets post-pandemic, including in the community with federated clinical services and possibly nursing homes.”