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6 August 2020
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Microsoft

Doctors Are Using Mixed Reality to Treat COVID-19 Patients

"This is not a gimmick."
by Dan Robitzski / May 20 2020

Doctors in the U.K. have started using mixed reality headsets to communicate with their peers, drastically cutting down how many medical workers need to come into contact with COVID-19 patients.

The Microsoft goggles let the wearer communicate with colleagues or request information like x-ray results from technicians waiting safely in a different room, BBC News reports. And while the idea seems alien at first, doctors told BBC News they think the technology will definitely help limit future spread of the coronavirus.

“This is not a gimmick,” Dr. James Kinross, a surgeon at Imperial College, told BBC News. “It provides clinicians with capabilities that they cannot have with any other platform that’ll have immediate patient benefit.”

Relying on mixed reality to communicate with other medical staff who used to all work in the same room was a weird adjustment to make, Dr. Louis Koizia, a consultant physician at St. Mary’s hospital, told BBC News. But after getting used to it, he preferred it to the alternative.

“Initially it felt a little bit bizarre and a bit odd,” Koizia told BBC News. “But actually, if I compared it to the PPE and the visors and the goggles that I was wearing beforehand, it’s probably more comfortable.”

Kinross even suspects doctors will continue to use mixed reality after the pandemic ends.

“So I don’t see this technology going anywhere,” Kinross told BBC News. “In fact, if anything, I see this being much more widely deployed.”

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