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Transforming Healthcare Education in Singapore with Mixed Reality

Medical and nursing students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine will be using three-dimensional holographic technology from Microsoft to help them learn certain medical procedures and study anatomical structures. The collaboration, which spans NUS Medicine, the National University Health System and a tech company add mixed reality to the learning experience.

Through holographic technology, medical and nursing undergraduates can expect to better hone their skills through training. This progressive use of mixed reality in healthcare education stems from the tech company’s work with the National University Health System, which is embarking on Holomedicine research in Singapore to enhance patient care.

The holographic technology will be used to project three-dimensional holograms to give medical and nursing students a visual appreciation of actual clinical scenarios in practice. The suite of instructional software developed by the team from NUS Medicine and Microsoft Industry Solutions provides 3D, mixed reality technology that will be used to help students practice clinical procedural skills.

We are continually pursuing new and innovative teaching methods to help medical and nursing students better understand the medical curriculum and gain a new appreciation for healthcare and health, while striving to maintain a balance with time-tested traditional approaches. This incorporation of holographic mixed-reality learning fits in well with our teaching initiatives

– Associate Professor Lau Tang Ching, Vice-Dean for Education, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

The project comes with three levels of difficulty, with a goal to train and provide sufficient direction to allow students at varying levels of competence to achieve the highest standards of clinical practice in a safe. With the ongoing pandemic, virtual reality and mixed reality has been identified as a must-have tool for teaching and learning in onsite and remote environments.

The project aims to train students in clinical soft skills and clinical anatomy respectively, positioning NUS Medicine as the first in Southeast Asia to introduce holographic mixed reality as a teaching tool to train medical and nursing students. The medical and technical expertise of NUS Medicine and the tech company will pave the way for the development of a niche technological competency, in which clinical training tools can be developed to introduce realistic clinical scenarios for use in medical education.

From delivering better healthcare experiences at the frontlines to helping neurosurgeons keep patients better informed of what could happen during their surgeries, technology has been an empowering tool for healthcare workers as they protect and save the lives of patients. As one of the few hospitals in Southeast Asia that has a tertiary education arm that collaborates with a training hospital, NUS Medicine is in a unique position to use mixed reality solutions.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, a team of researchers from the NUS Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as the NUS Institute for Health Innovation & Technology has invented a smart suture that is battery-free and can wirelessly sense and transmit information from deep surgical sites. These smart sutures incorporate a small electronic sensor that can monitor wound integrity, gastric leakage and tissue micromotions while providing healing outcomes that are equivalent to medical-grade sutures.

In future, the team is looking to develop a portable wireless reader to replace the setup currently used to wirelessly read out the smart sutures, enabling surveillance of complications even outside of clinical settings. This could enable patients to be discharged earlier from the hospital after surgery.

The team is now working with surgeons and medical device manufacturers to adapt the sutures for detecting wound bleeding and leakage after gastrointestinal surgery. They are also looking to increase the operating depth of the sutures, which will enable deeper organs and tissues to be monitored.

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