Cambridge University Hospitals explores role of mixed reality tech

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT (CUH) has explored the role of mixed reality to improve and optimise how staff deliver clinical care, and how the trust trains and educates staff.

Through an awareness event at CUH, including tech suppliers Microsoft, VSI ApoQLar, Fracture Reality JoinXR, Proximie and Holomedicine Association, CUH staff have been testing mixed reality technology to see how it can improve patient care, productivity and medical expertise.

Ekpemi Irune, an ENT and thyroid surgeon at CUH, who led the day, said: “I think a lot of us are always looking to the future and in everything we’re doing, we’re trying to optimise what we do. Today has been about bringing a group of people across CUH, to come together to talk about using modern day technology to improve and optimise how we deliver clinical care and how we train and educate people.

“It will supercharge the skills we have. It will help us build better relationships with our patients. It would also allow the developed world to share its experience and its abilities with the developing world.”

Ambika Chadha, a surgeon at CUH specialising in cleft and lip palate, who tested a headset on the day, commented: “It’s mind-blowing! The 3D capability is incredible because you can look inside, expand, tilt and move around a scan or x-ray of a patient before you head in to surgery.

“Your patient could also use the technology to really understand what the issues are and the treatment they’re having.”

Charlotte Clay leading on benefits and research in the Digital Productivity Team at NHS England and Improvement, added: “The tech we’re trying out today is already available and ready to use, the question is how can it empower and benefit both NHS patients and staff – and at the same time be safe to use, including issues like data protection.

“It’s important therefore to build up evidence and evaluation for each project to make sure that this emerging technology can help the NHS to become more productive, while at the same time improving patient care.”

CUH shared a short overview video: