Safwan Sarker, David Levine MD, MPH, MA
David Levine MD, MPH, MA
Home care medicine enables critical services in the homes of patients who otherwise would not receive the necessary care. Its scalability and resource-intensive personnel requirements are persistent challenges. Augmented reality (AR), which overlays computer-generated imagery into the real world, presents a promising solution. However, most AR research targets medical education; its role in home care remains unexplored. To address this, we evaluated the feasibility and utility of AR and its software stack among older home-based adults. Twenty older adults with recent hospitalizations or significant medical comorbidities were recruited. Using the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset, they were asked to complete an AR task checklist that included handling holographic medical equipment and routine healthcare procedures. Despite no prior AR experience, all participants adeptly used the headset with minimal training. Tasks were completed without a burdensome task load, indicated by NASA TLX median scores (IQR) of 2(5.25) in mental and 2(3.25) physical demand. Additionally, most participants (90%) agreed/strongly agreed that it would be easy to master the headset and believed it beneficial for persons like themselves. Further research is essential, but if validated, AR could redefine home care, offering the opportunity to scale up healthcare services that previously required multiple in-home visits.
Home care medicine helps patients get important treatments in their own homes, especially those who cannot easily get to a doctor or hospital. One big challenge is how to serve many patients with limited staff. Augmented Reality (AR) presents a promising solution. AR allows digital images to be projected into the real world and provides advanced communication. However, most AR research has focused on medical education; little is known about AR at home. To address this, we aimed to determine if older adults could use AR in their homes. We recruited twenty older adults with recent hospital visits or health concerns to try AR healthcare tasks using the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset. All participants, with no prior AR experience, used this technology comfortably at home and found the experience positive. Additionally, most believed that the AR headset could be mastered quickly and would be a positive addition to help manage their illness. While more research is needed, if AR continues to show promise as a potential healthcare tool, it could change home care for the better, making it easier to provide services that usually need several home visits.