(New Zealand Herald) – Telesurgery, or operating on a patient using a robot hundreds of kilometres away, could be the future of healthcare, say experts.
At Microsoft’s annual Inspire conference in Washington DC this week, some of these technological advances in healthcare were demonstrated to more than 17,000 attendees.
The technology behind long-distance operations and surgery originally began with spaceflight when organisations such as Nasa began figuring out how they might be able to treat a person in a space craft.
The concept has continued to evolve over the years and according to Microsoft, telesurgery is now at a stage where it is being used more widely.
The US Department of Defence is already testing out what it calls Trauma Pods, using robots to provide temporary medical care for soldiers on the battlefront before they can get to a doctor or medic.
Allowing more people to access world-leading health care and surgery without having to travel is just the start of the evolutions happening in the health care sector, according to Microsoft general manager of health Neil Jordan.
“Certain areas of the health industry are really starting to use things like augmented reality (AR) and some of the newest technology to improve the way they operate,” Jordan said.
“So HoloLens for example which is AR and means you can still see what’s going on around you when you’re using it, is being used in lots of interesting applications already – for example in teaching medical students.”
Jordan highlighted Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in the US as one such example.
The university uses HoloLens to help teach surgery and anatomy by creating a 3D image either on a cadaver, a dummy or in free space to give students a more in-depth view of complex body systems or surgical procedures.
“We’re also starting to see the use of HoloLens for things like assisted placements of stents so when you’re doing laparoscopic surgery you can actually map that onto the human body as you go in, and get a much clearer idea of where the stent is in relation to the rest of the body,” Jordan said.
“It hasn’t gone through FDA approval yet but we’re seeing these kinds of examples a lot more.”
Image Credit: Microsoft