360 immersive Virtual Reality arrives to the Cathlab. Revamping Medical Education
The implementation of augmented reality into the medical setting has been increasingly experimented with since the birth of the Google Glass explorer program.
The first publication analyzing the potential of such technology in different settings was done back in October 2013 “Wearable technology to improve education and patient outcomes in a cardiology fellowship program – a feasibility study” . Following this publication came the proof of concept on the application of Google Glass in a tele-mentoring scenario was published in JACC ““Tele-Mentoring”: An Interventional Procedure Using a Wearable Computer” in which google glass was used in a PFO Closure.
Since then questions have risen if the technology was truly ready for different implementation of glass. A recent publication “Accuracy of Remote Electrocardiogram Interpretation With the Use of Google Glass Technology” found glass not to be adequate for EKG interpretation. Which by the way I congratulate the authors on their effort, it is great to see more physicians exploring the incorporation of such technologies to improve the way we practice medicine. The truth it that the results were not surprising due to many variables but there are 2 which I consider most important 1) The need for millimetric assesment of EKGs 2) Google Glass is now “old” technology and its field of view is handicapped for such a task (Rumors have it that Google is likely already working on next gen). Another important point that this demonstrates is the rapid pace that technology has (following an exponential curve) and our slow implementation in the medical setting due to many restrictions.
Currently there are many other options more relevant than the first generation of Google Glass for such tasks. I have personally experienced Atheer Glasses, META Glasses, and most recently ODG which is used by the military and NASA. They are all great with tremendous potential and depending on the vision of the individual one can prove better suited than the other one. A company exploring this in a very interesting way is Vital Medicals. Implementing this uptodate technology is a whole different world when compared to Glass. For example, just by checking ODG’s Field of View (FOV) we see dramatic improvement with a Dual 720p 16:9 stereoscopic see-thru displays at 30fps (Full specs of ODG Glasses).
Having said this, in addition to augmented reality we now have virtual reality. In my personal opinion, implementation of augmented reality is more challenging in the medical setting since it faces a lot of “hurdles” depending on how it is used. In the case of Virtual Reality things are different and the biggest potential for now, in addition to entertainment is education.
Last week we used COMPLETE 360 degree immersive technology for the first time in the Cathlab (maybe even in a medical procedure) to capture valuable education points; 1) Ultrasound Guided Access 2) Setting up and deploying a Medtronic CoreValve. At the moment can not disclose how this was done exactly, but just wanted to mention that VR is already being used in the medical setting.
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