Apple's new frontier for health systems

Could Apple's newly launched Vision Pro headset be a new frontier for health systems? San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare is about to find out. 

The Apple Vision Pro devices, which utilize spatial computing to display 3D graphics and videos over real-life settings, are being tested at Sharp HealthCare's newly created Spatial Computing Center of Excellence. 

"We invested in a fleet of 30 Vision Pro headsets so that our physicians, nurses, informaticists and software developers could test them out," Dan Exley, vice president of clinical applications, told Becker's. "Why live like the Jetsons at home and live like a Flintstone at the hospital? We're really working to change that to enable access to next-level technology for our clinicians so that they're not stuck living in Flintstone land." 

With the Spatial Computing Center of Excellence, Sharp clinicians and technologists will brainstorm and implement ways to leverage spatial computing for enhanced effectiveness, productivity, collaboration, education and treatments. 

These initiatives, according to Tommy Korn, MD, ophthalmologist at Sharp HealthCare, will span a wide spectrum of medical specialties and clinical roles, from the physician's office and operating room, to bedside care and caregiver education.

"For most of humanity, we've been living in a two-dimensional world," Dr. Korn, who also serves as chief physician evangelist of mobile-first at Sharp, told Becker's. "Spatial computing will transform medicine, allowing us to have three-dimensional thinking."

Dr. Korn emphasized that wearing a headset during patient interactions wouldn't occur, rather, physicians could use the Vision Pro to get a more in-depth understanding of a patient's records before entering an exam room. 

"Now I'm armed, before I go into the exam room, with all of the information I need organized visually and conveniently," he said. "This allows me to share that information with the patient and not be focused on the computer screen and on archaic technology, bringing back the human experience to care delivery."

Other potential uses for the Vision Pro, according to Dr. Korn, include three-dimensional medical imaging, surgery simulations, education and future surgeons being assisted by spatial computing. 

With the help of the Spatial Computing Center and its partnership with EHR vendor Epic Systems, Mr. Exley said the health system is aiming to bring together different disciplines to help explore all the different healthcare professionals that might benefit from this technology. 

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