A global-first holographic doctor that promises to revolutionise patient care and allow people to remain in their homes for longer has been launched by an Australian community care provider.
 
Developed by the Silver Chain Group through its partnership with Microsoft, the ground-breaking technology will project healthcare professionals into clients’ homes via a “HoloLens” headset and share clinical data in real time.
 
Chief Executive of Silver Chain Dr Christopher McGowan said the innovation integrates “mixed reality” technology with real life and holograms, and will prevent the need for some patients to be transferred to hospital.
 
“Our research indicates around 30 per cent of people don’t need to be in hospital and could be receiving the same safe, quality treatment at home where they feel more comfortable with the added benefit of freeing hospital beds for critically unwell patients,” McGowan said.
 
Using enhanced medical mixed reality — EMMR — technology, healthcare professionals can “holoport” into clients’ homes, with patients able to view them through the headgear. Nurses visiting patients will use the HoloLens to gain access to clients’ clinical data through a holographic dashboard, while doctors can “see through the eyes of the nurse” as consultations take place.
 
McGowan said it has the potential to revolutionise the delivery of care in Australia and globally.
 
“This new application will give clients greater confidence to live at home, with the knowledge that clinical staff can access specialists, as well as the ability to share real time consultations with family members anywhere in the world via mixed reality capture technology.”
 
McGowan launched the holographic doctor, which is in the final stages of software development, at the Microsoft Envision conference in Florida last week.
 
“The technology has been well received. We spoke to many people ahead of the reveal too, including doctors, who all seemed excited about the potential EMMR has to allow clinical specialists to remain in central locations but still provide personalised care in the home.”
 
Silver Chain Group said it has established, “Australia’s first – and largest – fully operational 650-bed virtual hospital network. Services that form part of this virtual hospital network include acute care in the home, post-acute care and palliative care.” EMMR will be rolled out as part of the virtual services.
 
The not-for-profit Silver Chain provides care to more than 94,000 people of all ages in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia (where it’s known as RDNS), helping them remain at home.