Medical startup develops 3D x-ray solution

02/05/2018 - 12:38

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A Perth-based medical solutions startup has partnered with St John of God Subiaco Hospital to run a pilot for its new virtual reality x-ray software, with improved pre-surgical planning among its benefits.

Arthur Ong says MedVR has the potential to upskill remote doctors and train students. Photo: Attila Csaszar

A Perth-based medical solutions startup has partnered with St John of God Subiaco Hospital to run a pilot for its new virtual reality x-ray software, with improved pre-surgical planning among its benefits.

MedVR is a spin-off company that falls under the umbrella of local technology startup Progressive Medical, founded in 2015 by civil engineer Arthur Ong and lawyer Denning Chong.

Having begun developing the technology last year, MedVR is on the brink of a potential commercial arrangement with St John of God, following the completion of its six-month pilot, Mr Ong said.

“MedVR takes the x-rays from radiologists and with our algorithms makes it into a 3D representation in virtual reality, which allows the doctor to do a lot of pre-surgical planning,” Mr Ong told Business News.

“On top of that we’ve integrated with Cisco Spark, which is a collaboration platform, and that basically allows a doctor to share it with his peers around the world and interstate.

“We had a case where there was a doctor in Narrogin; he didn’t know how to operate on a patient so he got a doctor from Perth to cross-collaborate and then there was a bit of an upskill for that doctor in Narrogin.” 

He said the technology aligned closely with the state’s Sustainable Health Review released in February, which indicated an expansion of telehealth technology would be among several changes needed to ensure a sustainable system.

St John of God Health Care executive director WA Hospitals, John Fogarty, said the hospitals' surgeons had already been testing and assessing the technology’s potential to enhance patient care, showing promising results.

“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.

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

St John of God vascular surgeon Marek Garbowski said he was excited about the potential of the technology to enable him to plan surgeries in the 3D virtual reality environment.

“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,” he said.

MedVR is the first spin-off company for Progressive Medical, which develops software solutions for clients within the medical sector.

Mr Ong said Progressive Medical would continue to develop solutions for clients, but for any developments with greater potential it would create a spin-off company as seen with MedVR.

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