VIRTUAL REALITY IS ALREADY ENABLING US TO COLLABORATE IN REMOTE OPERATIONS AND SAVE LIVES

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VIRTUAL REALITY IS ALREADY ENABLING US TO COLLABORATE IN REMOTE OPERATIONS AND SAVE LIVES

Another way to empower staff through technology is to enable remote guidance from more experienced professionals through virtual collaboration. It is one of many healthcare technology trends that was accelerated by the pandemic, and is now becoming a mainstay as skilled and experienced personnel become increasingly scarce, especially in smaller satellite locations.

In medical imaging, for example, we continue to see increased adoption of radiology operations centers that connect experienced imaging experts at a central site with technologists at outlying scanning locations. This hub-and-spoke model enables real-time virtual support while the patient is on the scanner table, which helps less experienced staff get images right the first time. Not only does this help standardize image quality and maintain operational continuity, but it can also make advanced imaging, such as MRI and CT, accessible at more sites closer to where patients live. Similarly, real-time virtual collaboration in ultrasound can extend the reach of specialty care to enhance patient and staff experiences, improve workflow efficiency, and drive better outcomes for patients in different locations.

Remote collaboration is also showing its value in other medical settings, such as acute care. Tele-ICU programs extend critical care resources to the bedside through technology, regardless of the facility’s location. An intensivist-led team at a central facility can monitor up to 500 remote ICU beds to support on-site care teams, combining audiovisual technology, predictive analytics and data visualization to help ensure that patients receive targeted care when they need it. Similarly, in stroke care, where every second counts, emergency care physicians can provide virtual guidance to their counterparts in rural or under-equipped facilities to aid in clinical decision making to improve patient outcomes