Catholic Healthcare brings in HoloLens for patient telehealth – Hardware – Networking – Software

Non-profit Catholic Healthcare is using Microsoft’s holographic headset HoloLens to carry out telehealth appointments between residential care nurses and remote doctors.

The organisation currently has 41 devices – one in each of its care homes – that on-site nurses use to provide more detailed briefings about patients to their GPs and specialists.

The devices, which are integrated with Microsoft Teams, are also being used for family calls, with further uses around homecare and wound treatment being explored.

“In the past [staff] tried to use tablets and mobile phones,” Catholic Healthcare CIO Brett Reedman said.

“They’ve got their hands trying to get the angle for things like a wound-care assessment, which would be very difficult for the GPs to see and focus on.”

Speaking during a media event in Sydney, Reedman said the benefit of HoloLens “is that your hands are free; you have full visibility of the resident, and the doctor can see everything that you see.”

“The doctors love it. It’s completely brilliant high definition,” he added.

According to Reedman, Catholic Healthcare is now working on integrating wound care software and internet of things (IoT) devices into the headset, which he sees as beneficial to the non-profit’s 7000 homecare patients.

Currently, Catholic Healthcare is developing a proof-of-concept for in-home usage with initial plans to use 20 HoloLens devices.

As a use case example, a nurse could use the HoloLens headset to call a specialist at a hospital from an elderly patient’s home, Reedman said.

Reedman added that Catholic Healthcare intends to expand the number of HoloLens devices at its residential homes as well but noted that “they’re pretty expensive”. A standard HoloLens 2 currently costs $5599.

A strong connection

The adoption of HoloLens follows Catholic Healthcare’s adoption of Optus’ internet, including fibre, WAN and 5G.

Reedman said the organisation has moved off its legacy MPLS network with another telco and onto Optus’ business-grade internet in all its care homes. 

According to Reedman, the transition to a strong network connection, and especially to 5G, is “critical” to the adoption of new technology.

“It unlocks a number of technologies we previously couldn’t use,” he said.

“Having access to that 5G network has definitely allowed us to explore more options with HoloLens.”

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