Montreal Gazette

Lakeshore General Hospital embraces the future with Hololens technology

Use of the Hololens glasses have all but erased delays in treating ICU patients, giving hospital staff ideas about revolution­izing care at the hospital


Entering the Lakeshore General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) feels like stepping into the future. Not only does the new, high-tech unit have essential utilities installed along the ceiling so personnel have unobstruct­ed access to patients, but nurses have also begun using Microsoft’s Hololens technology with doctors who are not physically at the hospital to address patient needs as soon as they arise.

The Hololens 2—the most current model used by the Lakeshore General Hospital— allows a doctor to get on a video call from anywhere with a nurse in the ICU. Through the video call, a doctor can see everything the nurse sees in real time, allowing doctors to issue a course of treatment immediatel­y rather than through a delayed process that would require doctors to physically visit the ICU.

The helmet-like device also uses holographi­c projection­s to create a semi-virtual reality, allowing nurses using the device to see drawings such as arrows pointing towards an area of interest for the doctor on the other end of the call.

According to Dr. Francesco Ramadori, chief of the department of Anesthesio­logy at the CIUSSS de l’ouest-de-l’île-de-montréal, the Hololens 2 has been critical to improving the efficiency of the ICU. It has cut the need for a game of telephone when passing along informatio­n about a patient and bypasses the typical transporta­tion delays as a doctor hurries to the hospital to get a better look for themselves.

“At this point we can see what they see,” Ramadori said. “In real time, they can describe to us what they are worried about [...] and then we can ask them ‘Okay, will you show me the monitor so I can see what’s going on, maybe show me the patient’ [and] if I have specific questions for the patient, I don’t have to ask [the nurse] to ask somebody else to ask the patient, we can interact directly so that we can get a better sense of what is going on in that particular moment.”

In cases where Ramadori has had to return to the Lakeshore General Hospital, he shares that the Hololens 2 keeps him on a call with the nurse so he can prescribe a treatment, then follow up as it goes while he is making his way into the hospital.

This state-of-the-art headpiece was first introduced to the ICU as a pilot project, where a few employees, including a nurse that regularly works the day shift and another that works the night shift, were trained as “super users.” For Stephanie Lalonde, head nurse of the Lakeshore ICU and one of the designated super users, learning to use the device was |surprising­ly easy.

“When you are introducin­g a new technology, there’s always the fear of ‘Are we going to know how to use it, is it going to be adaptable, is it going to be something that is a bit too scary for the staff that is used to working without it?’, but it was actually quite easily integrated,” said Lalonde.

“So, if ever we have some questions about a patient, we are actually able to have [the doctors] see what we are describing.”

For Ramadori, answering Hololens calls is easy because the gear uses Microsoft Teams for all communicat­ions, which he has as an app on his phone. For the nursing staff, however, things are a little different.

When Lalonde uses the Hololens, she sees not just what is in front of her, but also anything the doctor wants to share with her. The floating screen of a doctor’s phone or computer appears as a hologram that she can move around her field of vision.

“It is completely adjustable to the situation,” Lalonde added. “Let’s say [the doctor] wants to show me something, I am showing them a wound and they want to talk to me about a specific part of the wound and I am not grasping exactly which area they are telling me, they can freeze my screen and edit on the picture and send it back to me.”

Using the Hololens in the ICU is only scratching the surface of what the technology can do. Lalonde and Ramadori are excited about expanding the use of the Hololens throughout the hospital to department­s like infectious diseases or even in the emergency room.

In the hands of the specially-trained Lakeshore General Hospital staff, the future of Hololens is bright. The days of ICU doctors rushing to the hospital to get a better understand­ing of what a patient is experienci­ng are over. Welcome to the future of medicine.


 ?? SUPPLIED ?? From left to right: Kerry Anne Geraghty, Stephanie Lalonde (head nurse), Katherine Fortier (assistant head nurse) who is wearing the
device, Dr. Jamal Alhashemi, and Catherine Nicolaieff.
SUPPLIED From left to right: Kerry Anne Geraghty, Stephanie Lalonde (head nurse), Katherine Fortier (assistant head nurse) who is wearing the device, Dr. Jamal Alhashemi, and Catherine Nicolaieff.

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