Virtually cured

VIRTUAL reality headsets are synonymous with immersive gaming experiences for teenagers.

But health care provider Sliver Chain is using the technology to improve the wellbeing of its clients, many of whom are old and house-bound.

Nurses can attach the headset to a client in their home, allowing them to have a conversation with a 3D holographic doctor in their living room.

Health care professional can also wear headsets and stream live video back to a doctor for guidance or a second opinion.

The technology is been trialled across WA, and Silver Chain Group CEO Lyn Jones says the technology will improve health care for people who live in isolated locations, or have limited mobility or poor health.

“The feedback has been very positive,” she says.

“The device and the way it is used is quite intuitive and our clients have enjoyed being part of the trial and using the technology.”

• Virtual reality headsets are being increasingly used in health care.

Virtual reality was just one of the exciting new technologies on show at the recent mini health and innovation expo in East Perth, organised by the Sustainable Health Review Panel.

Digital “Brain Games” are being developed by SAP to diagnose strokes faster than the traditional Face, Arms, Speech, Time checks, which have been used used around the world for the last 20 years to provide early stroke identification.

The games would be played using off-the-shelf gaming headsets to capture brain wave activity, which would then be analysed by SAP software, allowing responders to identify the stroke faster and more accurately.

Currently, the FAST tests require an additional CT scan or MRI scan to confirm and establish a treatment plan, which is often too late for patients who either die or are left with a significantly higher level of disability than if blood flow to the brain had been restored earlier.

The expo also showcased independent living technology to assist people stay safely in their own home, an app to help delay the symptoms of Huntington’s, and an unobtrusive and easy-to-wear monitor to measure heart rhythm and detect potentially deadly cardiac problems.

“Western Australia is a leading global contributor to health innovation and medical research. Digital health is one of the fastest growing industry sectors globally, particularly mobile and wireless health,” says WA health minister Roger Cook.

“This expo provides hands-on and interesting insights into this emerging space and reinforces the key themes of the Sustainable Health Review’s Interim Report around primary care, health prevention and promotion, and care in the community.”

The final report of the Sustainable Health Review will be presented to government in November.

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