The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Live-stream device allows safer medical training in Leeds during Covid-19

10 September 2020

Medical students in Leeds can continue their hospital-based training during the Covid-19 outbreak thanks to a new headset camera device that safely live-streams from a patient’s bedside.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on undergraduate and post graduate clinical education and training across the NHS because of the need to reduce the spread of the virus and protect patients, staff and the medical students themselves.

Microsoft HoloLens2, a mixed-reality device, is being pioneered in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as an innovative solution for delivering remote hospital-based teaching while maintaining a safe clinical environment. 

The device is a wearable headset that can live stream clinical situations in a secure format, allowing two-way communication in mixed reality for teaching and training.

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The Microsoft HoloLens2 allows patient consultations, ward rounds or operating theatres to be live-streamed remotely to students to help maintain their medical training.   X-rays, blood results and scans can also be viewed using this technology.

Dr Andrew Lewington, Associate Medical Director for Medical Education at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, together with Dr Shefali Parikh, a Clinical Leadership Fellow in the Medical Education Department, are leading the hospital wide programme to deliver multi-professional, undergraduate and post graduate education using this new technology.

Virtual ward rounds have now been officially incorporated into the timetable of student placements in the Leeds Cancer Centre that have re-started after being cancelled due to the pandemic in an area where patients are particularly vulnerable to infection.

M20200609 018 Hololens trial SJ5 7124Dr Lewington said they were delighted with how the new remote teaching device had worked.  “It is vital that the training of medical students continues despite the current situation with Covid-19, and finding this innovative solution protects patients and staff while still delivering student training.

“Online resources for medical training have long been required, but their production has rapidly accelerated in light of the impact of Covid-19 and the urgent need for remote education using mixed reality technologies.”

Dr Gemma Dart and Dr Dan Lee from the Leeds Cancer Centre, together with Tobias Mill, a fourth-year medical student, piloted the first remote teaching ward round at the Centre. The experience prompted one patient to say: "It limits the number of people at the bedside which is very important at this current time. This also means it feels more personal during the consultation.”

The students were also pleased with the results and have found it a valuable learning experience.  "It was a proper teaching ward round - it was tailored to our learning, and very engaging," said one.

Dr Lewington added:  As a group we’ve proved we’re able to combine our broad skills and the resources available to great effect and I’m confident in the ability of this technology to fill the wider clinical skills gap with this remote training.”