The Simulation Learning, Evaluation, Assessment and Research Network (SimLEARN) is testing a revolutionary new technology to advance Veteran care capabilities: holoportation. With the support of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and industry partner Dr. Hologram, SimLEARN is discovering how this advanced technology can bring more immersive and detailed telehealth care experiences to Veterans who use it.
Holoportation enables people to come together in real-time no matter their proximity. It uses a combination of cameras and sensors to capture a person’s image and transmits it to another location where it appears as a 3D hologram. Holoportation can be used to provide remote care to patients who are unable to travel to a hospital or clinic, bring a specialty care physician to the bedside of a patient, and serve medical education and training purposes.
The technology also works on a psychological level, with a hologram creating an in-person adjacent experience when distance is a limitation to the point of care. While still in its infancy, VA is working to see if holoportation can provide intimate personal care with any specialist across the country through two-way holographic discussion. At some point, both a Veteran and provider could have an entirely holographic care visit, providing an “in office” visit by a leader in a health care field to even the most rural Veterans.
Dr. Hologram uses Proto’s EPIC Holoportation device, which functions on proprietary hardware and software and offers a collection of apps to improve the holograph experience. The technology made its Veterans Health Administration (VHA) debut at the National SimLEARN Validation, Evaluation and Testing (SimVET) Center (NSC) premises during The SimDesign Collaborative Conference. SimLEARN’s Executive Director Eric Bruns welcomed attendees remotely with the help of UCF’s recording studio. Through an easy recording process, Director Bruns was able to appear ‘in-person’ as a high-definition, three-dimensional hologram.
“It was inspiring to collaborate with such an innovative academic affiliate,” said Brian Dery, SimLEARN’s technical director of support operations. “I’m looking forward to the technology’s integration into SimLEARN and impact on Veteran care.”
There is more to come in 2023, as SimLEARN’s SimVET portfolio, led by Medical Director Dr. Scott Wiltz, plans to further explore the use of holographic technology in Veteran health care. Simulation enthusiasts and education experts have already begun formulating how holoportation technology can be implemented as the new frontier in health care education. However, it is SimVET’s top priority to not just use the latest technology but also to ensure that it has an actual impact on Veteran care before VA invests in it.
“I can see a lot of opportunity,” expressed Patient Experience Analyst Charles Tubbs. “I see it engaging various audiences for different use cases, from patients to employees.”
Ultimately, the introduction of holoportation garnered excitement within the simulation community, with it showing the potential to transform the way Veterans receive and experience care.