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New tech potential in paediatric care

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Alder Hey children’s hospital has successfully pioneered immersive technology during the Covid pandemic and is now looking at rolling it out across the North West and beyond.

Liverpool-based Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, which is one of Europe’s biggest and busiest children’s hospitals caring for 330,000 children, young people and their families every year, has been using the new technology for a number of acute care cases.

It is using Insight’s Fast Start service, alongside Microsoft’s mixed reality solutions, HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, which allows specialists to collaborate more efficiently by working together from different locations.

Its clinicians have been using the technology to work together in circumstances that Covid 19 would otherwise have made impossible, resulting in lives being saved.

Alder Hey will now grow its capabilities to support clinicians in hospitals across the UK and worldwide and develop applications that support medical training and other related areas such as community based care.

Rafael Guerrero, director of the Heart Centre and innovation at Alder Hey said: “There is no doubt that these technologies have been important during the past six months. But looking ahead, they will help us to revolutionise the future of healthcare and better prepare us for other challenges in the future.

“Since Alder Hey is a specialist trust, we don’t just serve Liverpool but also communities across the North West of England, Wales and the Isle of Man. As a result, we don’t only want to help patients within the hospital itself, but across the entire region.’

“We can already see potential use cases in care homes, community care, and in helping our specialists treat patients in hospitals across the region without either the patients or specialists having to spend time travelling.

“Instead, we can focus on making sure patients get the treatment they need, wherever they are. Of course, this will need collaboration; both with other NHS trusts and public health bodies in the region, and with technology providers like Insight who will help us bring our plans into reality.

“Our experience collaborating with Insight, and its help getting the HoloLolens and Remote Assist up and running as soon as possible, means we’re confident this will happen.”

He said that Using HoloLens, Alder Hey had already demonstrated the potential of mixed reality healthcare applications to minimise the number of staff required to be in contact with patients, share expertise in the shortest possible time and from any location, and ultimately increase the quality of care.

He added: “However, there are many more opportunities to integrate the technology with other systems. For instance, as a centre of expertise for congenital heart treatment responsible for more than 8.5 million people across Wales, North-West England and the Isle of Man, these applications would allow us to support clinicians and patients both in other hospitals and in the community, without the need for travel in either direction – helping the NHS treat patients and share expertise more efficiently to improve patient care.”

The Heart Centre at Alder Hey currently uses HoloLens 2 to support clinicians in acute care scenarios whilst remaining heads-up and hands-free to concentrate on their tasks – allowing users to share information and their exact view in high definition without pausing their work or holding additional devices.

This has helped to reduce the number of clinicians around the bedside during ward visits, support emergency procedures by dialling in additional expertise when required, and enhance surgery by using visualisation of 3D models to aid clinicians when performing heart procedures.

Alder Hey and other NHS trusts have used Insight’s Fast Start service to ensure that healthcare specialists can begin using HoloLens 2 and Remote Assist technology as soon as possible.

Insight provides remote support, including troubleshooting and practical advice, to help clinicians enable and realise the use cases they need and put their technology to immediate use.

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