Jewish General Hospital clinicians use mixed-reality headsets to limit exposure to COVID-19 patients 

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Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, is one of the first healthcare organizations in North America to begin using Microsoft's virtual reality headset HoloLens to reduce direct contact between COVID-19 patients and medical staff.

The HoloLens headsets feature sensors and a camera around the headband, which allows clinicians to share their point of view with other staff remotely. The device uses cloud and artificial intelligence services including Microsoft Teams to send a live video feed to a computer screen in a nearby room, which other staff can watch to see everything the clinician treating the coronavirus patients can see while remaining at a safe distance.

Individuals watching the HoloLens video feed can interact with the clinician wearing the headset by uploading charts and X-rays into the HoloLens' field of view. The hands-free device also supports dictation of voice to text and hand gestures to operate its internal computing capabilities so patient charts and forms can be completed in real time.

JGH has run a series of HoloLens simulations involving COVID-19, palliative care and intensive care unit scenarios. The device has also been used to provide wound care to a patient under the direction of a nurse specialist.

"The next step is to have staff ready to use this technology across our CIUSSS in time for the anticipated second wave of the pandemic," Lawrence Rudski, MD, cardiology chief, director of JGH's heart center and leader of the trial, said in the July 21 news release. "Subsequently, our plan is for our clinicians to use HoloLens headsets to consult with colleagues within our CIUSSS [health system] and for us to provide our own expert consultation to other sites throughout Quebec and beyond."

Multiple London-based hospitals have also been using Microsoft's HoloLens headsets to treat COVID-19 patients and have reduced the number of physicians coming into contact with the coronavirus by about 80 percent, according to a May Business Insider report.

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