The Silver Chain Group CEO has said that what used to be considered science fiction is fast becoming reality.
Pointing to the omnipresent smartphone, Dr Christopher McGowan said technology has already become an extension of the human experience.
“All our support staff, including support workers and nurses and physiotherapists carry smartphones. At any given time, they have access to important client details, health protocols and rosters,” Mr McGowan said.
“It’s become an unremarkable part of our lives.
“However, what is remarkable is what is around the corner, and that is mixed reality.”
Mixed reality, or the combination of virtual reality in real world contexts, is on its way.
He explained: “Imagine you are in your living room and in need of a consultation from a health care professional because you are too sick, immobile or it is simply too far way.
“You put on a headset that instantly brings that person into your living room in holographic form. You will be able have a face-to-face conversation with them as if they were really there.”
Calling this an “exciting” development, Mr McGowan said the technology will impact both professionals and consumers.
The mixed reality technology has been developed together with manufacturing company, Saab, and is set to be trialled in coming months in various locations and settings.
Titled Enhanced Medical Mixed Reality or EMMR, Mr McGowan said the technology is mixed – rather than virtual – because they found that the “incredibly immersive” nature of virtual reality created a “real barrier between our carers and the client”.
"With virtual reality, you’re wearing a headset you can’t see through – it really is like you’re in a different world to anyone else. That didn’t work for our care models."
However, the technology will reduce the need for clients to travel away from home to seek medical advice that can be delivered by a hologram.
“EMMR will enhance the delivery of our services, further supporting our clients to remain at home, rather than be transferred to hospital,” Mr McGowan said.
“They won’t have to travel for appointments, and healthcare professionals can remain in central locations while still providing personalised care, saving the healthcare system time and money.”
Continuing, Silver Chain Group said that EMMR will have the capacity to share consultations in real time with family "anywhere in the world, all via mixed reality capture technology".
Additionally, EMMR for professionals will mean Silver Chain Group nurses visiting clients will be able to access clients' clinical data via the EMMR dashboard, Mr McGowan said, emphasising: "The technology doesn’t stop at holoportation."
Further, doctors will be able to "'see through the eyes of the nurse' as the consultation takes place".
Silver Chain Group showcased the technology and headsets that will be used to attendees at the Ageing Well Revolution conference in Adelaide last week.