Big Technology Helping Little Patients

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is using innovative AR/VR and AI technologies, creating 3D surgical simulations to improve outcomes and reassure caregivers when they need it most.

There is little that can make you feel as powerless as hearing that your child or loved one is sick or seeing them in pain. And for little patients and caregivers, complex procedures like heart surgery can be scary and confusing. But what if you could see the procedure in action, allowing you to understand each step of the way on a model of your child’s specific heart? This is what Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, an international leader in child health, is setting out to do. Partnering with Dell Technologies, Intel and NVIDIA, Cincinnati Children’s is combining the expertise of their medical team with next-generation Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to put caregivers’ minds at ease and deliver the best possible outcomes.

A long-time Dell Technologies customer and partner, Cincinnati Children’s has been exploring the use of AR/VR since 2017, so when the team shared their vision for a dedicated AR/VR Digital Experience Technology Lab with us, we knew we had to help. Experts from across Dell Technologies, Intel and NVIDIA kicked off planning sessions with the hospital’s IT teams and surgeons to make this vision a reality. Powered by Dell Precision mobile, tower and rack workstations paired with AR and VR headsets, cameras and accessories, and supported by Dell storage solutions, plus software to drive the intensive workflows, the Digital Experience Technology Lab at Cincinnati Children’s will be one of the first in the country to have a lab of this scale and kind in a hospital setting.

This lab will help Cincinnati Children’s advance the future of healthcare, driving advancements that surgeons could only dream of a decade ago. On the technical side, AI-based deep learning techniques will create patient-specific 3D models which allow surgeons to prepare for procedures in an accurate, immersive AR and VR simulation before the patient even enters the operating room. The technology supports simultaneous multi-user AR and VR collaboration, regardless of location, which means that healthcare specialists across the country – and even internationally – can take part in virtual surgery simulations for training, and exchange recommendations ahead of complex procedures.

Yet, most importantly, these 3D animations are shared with patients and their caregivers in advance of procedures to help them to understand what will happen during surgery using the actual models of the child’s anatomy. And while this won’t completely erase the anxiety caregivers are feeling, it does help them feel informed and provides them with the opportunity to ask questions. There are plans to use these technologies to supply telemedicine for little patients and caregivers to support rehabilitation, cognitive therapy, and pain management.

Cincinnati Children’s is an incredible example of how technology is tackling healthcare challenges in ways we never thought possible.”

These 3D modeling techniques will also support Cincinnati Children’s aim to be the first to create a total cardiac volume deep learning algorithm to increase the donor pool for pediatric heart and lung transplant candidates. This could help increase the number of donors available and the speed at which patients are matched, decreasing waiting times for these critical procedures.

Delivering positive outcomes for little patients and their caregivers is something that we are so proud to support. Aligned with our goal to use our technology and scale to advance health, education, and economic opportunity for 1 billion people by 2030, Cincinnati Children’s is an incredible example of how technology is tackling healthcare challenges in ways we never thought possible. We look forward to seeing what they do next.

Ken Glass

About the Author: Ken Glass

Ken Glass is an Industry Strategist and Solutions Architect for the Specialty business within Dell Technologies. He works closely with Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), customers and technology partners spanning a range of industries, including Healthcare, Education, Energy, and Finance. For more than 30 years, he has been developing and implementing technology solutions to drive customer initiatives based on emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR).