Introduction: Augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality devices are enabling technologies that may facilitate effective communication in healthcare between those with information and knowledge (clinician/specialist; expert; educator) and those seeking understanding and insight (patient/family; non-expert; learner). Investigators initiated an exploratory program to enable the study of AR/MR use-cases in acute care clinical and instructional settings.
Methods: Academic clinician educators, computer scientists, and diagnostic imaging specialists conducted a proof-of-concept project to 1) implement a core holoimaging pipeline infrastructure and open-access repository at the study institution, and 2) use novel AR/MR techniques on off-the-shelf devices with holoimages generated by the infrastructure to demonstrate their potential role in the instructive communication of complex medical information.
Results: The study team successfully developed a medical holoimaging infrastructure methodology to identify, retrieve, and manipulate real patients’ de-identified computed tomography and magnetic resonance imagesets for rendering, packaging, transfer, and display of modular holoimages onto AR/MR headset devices and connected displays. Holoimages containing key segmentations of cervical and thoracic anatomic structures and pathology were overlaid and registered onto physical task trainers for simulation-based “blind insertion” invasive procedural training. During the session, learners experienced and used task-relevant anatomic holoimages for central venous catheter and tube thoracostomy insertion training with enhanced visual cues and haptic feedback. Direct instructor access into the learner’s AR/MR headset view of the task trainer was achieved for visual-axis interactive instructional guidance.
Conclusion: Investigators implemented a core holoimaging pipeline infrastructure and modular open-access repository to generate and enable access to modular holoimages during exploratory pilot stage applications for invasive procedure training that featured innovative AR/MR techniques on off-the-shelf headset devices.