Immersive technologies to support healthcare training

A consortium called Resilient XR, along with advisors from Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Health Education England are utilising mixed reality technologies as part an online education programme.

The Resilient XR consortium is made up of Microsoft, volumetric production studio Dimension, digital technology innovation centre Digital Catapult, content distribution platform VISR VR, mixed-reality development agencies Fracture Reality and Make Real, the University of Leeds’ Centre for Immersive Technologies, and University College London.

So far 20 videos have been published on with videos focusing on clerking and acute ward management of a suspected Covid-19 patient, to basic and higher level clinical skills. The videos to date have been viewed over 1.6 million times.

Future training sessions on the platform will include the use of Microsoft HoloLens devices so holograms can be included, and healthcare staff can then rotate the content 360 degrees and view it from any angle.

The consortium worked with learning platform specialist GIGXR to create a hologram of a COVID-19 patient and the programme guides the HoloLens user in an immersive way through four stages of the illness.

Dr Andy Lewington, Consultant Renal Physician and Associate Medical Director, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, said: “Online resources for medical training have long been required, but the production has rapidly accelerated in light of the impact of COVID-19 on the UK and an urgent requirement for remote education using mixed reality technologies.”

“Similar upskilling is required across all domains of healthcare. In an environment with continuous change for both clinical treatment and safeguarding, these training resources need to be maintained ongoing for accuracy and currency. As a group we’ve proved we’re able to combine our broad skills and the resources available to great effect and I’m confident in Resilient XR’s ability to fill the wider clinical skills gap with immersive training.”

Joe Varrasso, Microsoft’s HoloLens Partner Sales Executive for Europe, said: “I’m proud of the rapid response of Resilient XR consortium to the pandemic – their generosity of time and energy in responding to the NHS call.”

“Mixed Reality is now being used to ready our NHS workers and together with Dynamics Remote Assist and HoloLens 2 is providing patient care and training to NHS and medical students whilst protecting doctors and staff. I’m pleased that the mixed reality ecosystem is contributing technologies that can make a difference.”