World-first virtual reality technology enhancing patient care St John of God Subiaco Hospital

Surgeons at St John of God Subiaco Hospital are the first in the world to have access to innovative virtual reality technology, MedVR, allowing precision planning of complex surgeries.

1 May 2018

St John of God Health Care MedVR

1 May 2018 

St John of God Subiaco Hospital is the exclusive pilot site for MedVR, developed by Perth-based innovators Progressive Medical, with the hospital’s surgeons already testing and assessing its potential to enhance patient care.

St John of God Health Care Executive Director WA Hospitals John Fogarty said the technology had the ability to improve patient experience and access to care.

“It is exciting to see how virtual reality can be used to simulate complex surgeries which allows our surgeons to plan their operations and collaborate with other specialists to give patients the best outcomes possible,” he said.

“This innovation is one example of how St John of God Subiaco Hospital is using technology to provide person-centred and compassionate care today and into the future.”

MedVR uses a patient’s CT, PET and MRI scans to create 3D virtual reality models allowing surgeons to completely immerse themselves in a digital virtual simulation of the patient’s body through a virtual reality headset.

St John of God Subiaco Hospital Vascular Surgeon Mr Marek Garbowski said he was excited about the potential of the technology to enable him to plan surgeries in the 3D virtual reality environment.

“MedVR enables surgeons to have a closer look at the area they are about to operate on which gives more opportunity to see what needs to be done and assess any potential risks and challenges,” he said.

“Once we get into theatre, this technology gives surgeons a clear understanding of what is going on inside a patient’s body so they can be more prepared for risks and potentially even reduce surgery time, leading to better patient outcomes.”

Progressive Medical Managing Director Arthur Ong said this world-first technology also enables collaboration between specialists which can help break down geographical barriers to healthcare.

“By enabling surgeons to engage and consult with other medical professionals, MedVR can bring world-class care to patients living locally or living in remote and regional areas bringing equitable care services to all,” he said.

“There is also potential to use this technology to teach and train clinicians and medical students who can learn about complex surgeries and conditions in an immersive virtual reality environment.”