The HoloLens has made enough of an impact on the healthcare industry for Microsoft technology partner Medivis to convince investors to pledge $2.3 million in funding for its surgical platform.
On Tuesday, along with closing its seed funding round, the company unveiled its SurgicalAR software for HoloLens at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, Florida. The platform will be on display at the Microsoft booth until the conference's conclusion on Friday.
Using the HoloLens, the SurgicalAR software precisely maps medical imaging onto a surgeon's view of a patient, giving surgeons a three-dimensional view of the data. With gesture recognition and voice commands, the software also gives surgeons access to imaging data while keeping their hands free (and sterilized).
"Surgeons today still rely on 2D images to display patient data, requiring practitioners to turn their visual attention away from the patient," said Osamah Choudhry, MD, the CEO of Medivis, in a statement. "They are forced to use their imagination to mentally fuse and display data in order to accurately plan and perform surgery with precision. This is incredibly difficult and inefficient for the practitioner and leaves the door open to potential error. SurgicalAR was developed to enable superior utilization of medical imaging data to maximize accuracy, improve surgical outcomes, and ensure patient safety in the operating room. This technology represents the next big paradigm shift in medical imaging and will revolutionize the entire imaging spectrum from pre-operative planning to modern surgical navigation."
On its website, the company boasts a network latency of less than 20 milliseconds and GPU rendering exceeding 60 frames per second. The software also utilizes machine learning models to facilitate quicker access to key information.
The company's co-founder, Christopher Morley, MD, previewed the application as part of Verizon's keynote at CES 2019.
While the potential benefit of SurgicalAR to surgeons is clear, the platform could also help hospital administrators and IT departments, as it is designed to integrate into existing systems with hospital picture archiving and communication systems (PACS).
"When we first met Osamah and Chris, we immediately understood the magnitude of the problem they were determined to solve. Medical imaging as it relates to surgical procedures has largely been neglected, leaving patients open to all sorts of complications and general safety issues," said Eric Woersching, general partner, Initialized Capital, who led the funding round. "We took one look at Medivis' platform and knew they were poised to transform the operating room. Not only does their hands-free approach to visualization meet a real need for greater surgical accuracy, but the team has the passion and expertise in the medical field to bring it all to fruition."
In recent years, we've seen a number of medical use cases for the HoloLens in the same general realm as SurgicalAR. The AR headset has assisted with spinal surgeries, collarbone repair, and cosmetic surgery, and it has enabled surgeons to collaborate remotely on a live cancer procedure.
Outside of the surgical suite, the device has also helped to train medical students via childbirth simulations and guided paramedics in diagnosing and treating patients. Hospitals have also deployed the headset to help calm young patients ahead of stressful procedures.
Microsoft has already made its business case clear to multiple industries beyond healthcare, and with the launch of the next-generation HoloLens just around the corner, the company is primed to bring its vision of augmented reality to even more enterprises.
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