Holographic patients help doctors and nurses in-training

A new, superior medical training application called “HoloScenarios” is helping soon-to-be doctors and nurses hone their skills using mixed reality learning. Developed by Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH), in partnership with the University of Cambridge and Los Angeles-based tech company GigXR, HoloScenarios will introduce a medically-accurate holographic patient that can be interacted with, creating a unique clinical environment to learn and practice vital, real-time decision making and treatment choices.

Medical instructors are also able to change patient responses, introduce complications and record observations and discussions in person in a teaching group or remotely to multiple locations worldwide over the internet.

Learners wearing Microsoft HoloLens mixed-reality headsets can additionally also watch, contribute to, and assess the holographic patient scenarios from either an Android or iOS smartphone, or tablet.

“Mixed reality is increasingly recognised as a useful method of simulator training,” said Dr. Arun Gupta, Consultant anesthetist at CUH. “As institutions scale procurement, the demand for platforms that offer utility and ease of mixed reality learning management is rapidly expanding.”

The technology is able to provide immersive learning opportunities to be delivered and shared across the world, with its first module featuring a hologram patient with asthma, followed by anaphylaxis, pulmonary embolism, and pneumonia. Further modules in cardiology and neurology are in development.

HoloScenarios is available for license to learning institutions everywhere, amid extensive analysis as a mixed reality teaching and learning tool for higher education.

“Our research is aimed at uncovering how such simulations can best support learning and accelerate the adoption of effective mixed reality training while informing ongoing development,” said research lead Professor Riikka Hofmann at Cambridge’s Faculty of Education. “We hope that it will help guide institutions in implementing mixed reality into their curricula, in the same way institutions evaluate conventional resources, such as textbooks, manikins, models or computer software, and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.”

Junior doctor Aniket Bharadwaj is one of the first to try out the new technology: “Throughout medical school we would have situations where actors would come in an act as patients. With the pandemic a lot of that changed to tablet-based interactions because of the risk to people of the virus.

“Having a hologram patient you can see, hear and interact with is really exciting and will really make a difference to student learning,” he said.