Many of us know what it’s like going to the doctor’s office and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information and field-specific vocabulary being thrown at us. For those who have a scheduled surgery coming up, it can be even more extreme. Preoperative anxiety was prevalent in 45% percent of in-patient surgery prospects and 38% of same-day surgery patients, according to a study in Innsbruck (Wetsch et al. 2009). Knowing that such a large number of patients have worries related to an upcoming surgery, apoQlar is looking to ease patients’ minds by better informing them about the anatomical details of their surgery with Holomedicine and VSI Patient Education (PE).
Paving a Way to the Future: VSI Patient Education
In the VSI Patient Education model both the patient and doctor wear HoloLens mixed reality (MR) glasses. With the use of Holomedicine, the doctor can utilize the patient’s own 3D MRI and CT scans to guide the patient through the exact path he plans to take during an operation. The doctor is the driver, using his MR glasses to position and show virtual cross-sections of the patient’s own medical images, while the patient observes through his own set of mixed reality glasses. The patient can see where the pathology is located and how the operation will proceed on the basis of his or her own anatomy.
The study consisted of 17 epilepsy patients comprising mainly patients awaiting an operation where a lesion of the brain, believed to be causing the epilepsy, would be removed. Prior to surgery, all patients took part in an individualized patient information session with a doctor, predominantly with Dr. House. The goal of the appointment was to clarify what the exact aims of their surgery were. The standard practice is to use a generic rubber brain model that can be taken apart into 8 parts, accompanied by a 2D MRI of the patient’s brain, to show the patient what they can expect during their surgery. Dr. House is looking to challenge that standard and increase patient understanding through the use of Holomedicine. During the appointment, Dr. House presented every patient with both a classic rubber brain model as well as VSI Patient Education. Patients were randomly assigned to two groups, differing solely in the education model with which they were first presented and afterwards were asked to fill out a survey rating their experience. Some patients (14) were accompanied to the appointment by loved one, who were also encouraged to share their views on the two education models by filling out a questionnaire.
What Patients Have to Say:
After collecting feedback from patients, it was clear that VSI PE is an ideal tool for helping bring patients up to speed on the plans that their doctor and surgical team have for them. 100% of patients reported that VSI was their preferred tool for instruction, with 18% percent reporting that they prefer both. In the age of technology and artificial intelligence, it appears that Holomedicine is the way of the future for increasing patient understanding.
In the survey that patients and their loved ones filled out, they were asked give feedback in three different areas:
1. Did the patients feel like they were comprehensibly informed about the aims of their surgery?
With VSI Patient Education and the ability to see their own brain in 3D, patients felt that their education session was much more comprehensible and almost significantly more imaginable than it was when using the non-specific rubber brain model.
2. How anxious did the patients feel about their upcoming operation?
Knowing exactly what it is that Dr. House was seeing in their brain thanks to Holomedicine, patients felt less anxious about their upcoming surgery than they had with the rubber brain model. 9 patients reported that their fear and worries were completely reduced with the use of VSI, whereas only 3 patients said that they felt equally as relieved with the brain model explanation.
3. Did the session consist of state-of-the-art technology?
With VSI being at the cutting edge of medical innovation, it is no surprise that relatives decided that VSI PE should be the future tool for patient education. Being able to see exactly where the problem is within each individual’s brain brought comfort to both the patients and their relatives. Patients also reported that they preferred VSI as their method of patient education.
VSI PE is redefining the way that doctors inform their patients prior to surgery, allowing patients to interact more intimately with 3D scans of their own brain and not just a rigid rubber model. With Holomedicine, patients can take a journey inside the brain alongside their doctor, making the whole surgical process easier to imagine.