Almost 20 years as a practicing physician have given me a keen perspective on the evolution of the interventional suite. The field of IGT has had nothing less than a transformative impact on both clinicians and patients. And yet, despite the many remarkable advances, clinicians still face substantial issues. Cumbersome lead protective gear and intricate procedures that call for a significant amount of manual control of equipment can be a physical strain for clinicians. Screen fatigue can also be a problem, given the vast amounts of clinical data and medical imagery needed to perform an interventional procedure. The impact? Increased strain on the medical team. These issues can be addressed through AR, with minimal adjustment required for clinicians who are used to wearing goggles and extensive equipment already, allowing greater focus on the patient. This makes IGT the natural entry point for AR in healthcare.
Those of us in industry – especially those of us who continue to treat patients – are driven to explore such pioneering solutions that can both alleviate these strains and improve the daily working lives of hospital staff. Having insight into what clinicians need, and working closely with them, gives us a great advantage and allows us to create more user-friendly, intuitive, interfaces that can – and do – make a difference.
We’ve made notable strides in this area, but we know that these developments are just scratching the surface. There is still much to be done to take minimally invasive procedures to the next level and improve patient and clinician experiences.
But the future may be closer than it seems: we can already use AR in diagnosis, and, a couple of years ago, in an industry-first, we introduced an AR surgical navigation technology to help surgeons perform image-guided open and minimally-invasive spine surgery.
Our collaboration with Microsoft highlights how much more potential there is in the use of AR in healthcare and it excites me. I’m especially intrigued to explore the role it will play in helping to deliver on the ‘quadruple aim’: enhancing the patient experience, improving health outcomes, lowering care costs, and improving the work life of care providers.
AR has already played a key role in optimizing solutions along the healthcare continuum. The next few years are likely to deliver developments in AR that will help provide a seamless experience for clinicians and keep the focus on the patient, where it belongs.
What do you see when you look through the lens of AR?
The augmented reality concept for image guided therapy developed by Philips and Microsoft is being used to gather further clinical insights and is not available for sale.