The University of Adelaide has recently unveiled a groundbreaking innovation that promises to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of foot wounds. Researchers at the university shared the news about their pilot program which utilizes Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headset the HoloLens to improve the assessment and management of patients’ leg and foot ulcers.
University of Adelaide researchers are developing software that will allow doctors and medical personnel to “see through the eyes” of another colleague who dons the Mixed Reality headset. This will enable medical staff to examine, diagnose, and help treat patients from just about anywhere with internet connection. Healthcare officials will be able to collaborate like they are all in the same room together.
As a result of this patients in rural areas will be able to receive the same treatment as if they lived in a city with dedicated foot specialists. In addition, researchers see this technology will increase the number of routine checkups as patients will no longer have to travel into the city. This will start a positive chain effect and to reduce the rates of emergency hospitalizations, more importantly reduce the number of lower limb amputations and deaths.
Researchers pointed out this project started because of the rise in rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The “reduced access to health services outside of the city contributes to delayed screening and detection of disease in rural communities, not to mention the financial burden on patients and the health system,” said Dr McMillan. Individuals who live in rural areas have ten times amputation higher rate compared to those who live in or near the city. The number increases for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from ten times to 38 times more likely to undergo amputations associated with diabetes than non-Indigenous Australians.
Initial success looks promising. The project has received $2.27 million in funding over the next four years from the Medical Research Future Fund’s National Critical Research Infrastructure Scheme. Project roll out is targeted within the next five years and the initial pilot will continue to be tested throughout different regions of Australia.