Virtual reality set to change Australians’ medical appointments
SYDNEY, 15 NOVEMBER, 2018 – Australian doctors are looking to virtual reality to change health care to better suit modern-day needs. Home-grown Startup Vantari VR is developing cutting edge technology to convert CT, MRI and other medical images into virtual reality, signalling the end of 2D black and white medical scans.
The Australian-made technology is being tested by NSW doctors who are showing patients their scans using virtual reality headsets, bringing medical imaging to life. The company is also exploring other ways to use this technology, including using virtual reality in surgical planning and to train junior doctors.
Vantari VR was founded by Dr Vijay Paul and Dr Nishanth Krishnananthan, whose combined experience in emergency medicine and surgery inspired them to solve a common problem.
“Health care professionals go through years of training to learn how to read standard medical scans. There is no surprise that patients often struggle to decipher what the colourless blurs mean during a short medical appointment. We’ve worked at medical centres and hospitals across Australia, and noticed that this was a common issue at all of them, so we decided to do something about it,” said Dr Paul.
Knee surgery patients at Sydney’s Campbelltown Private Hospital will be some of the first to experience this technology during a 6 month trial.
At Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Vantari VR is being piloted for procedural training where junior doctors and trainees are able to learn from immersive simulations hosted on a sophisticated virtual reality platform.
Vantari VR is also being tested at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where surgeons are turning traditional scans into virtual reality and using VR headsets to plan surgical procedures. According to Stamford University in the US, using virtual reality for surgical planning increases accuracy by 10% and decreases planning time by 40%.
When Vantari VR was in its prototype phase Dr Vijay Paul and Dr Nishanth Krishnananthan participated in the HCF Catalyst program, an accelerator that helps health care Startups and Scaleups develop their ideas into investment-ready businesses in 12 weeks. Their program mentors encouraged them to look at different ways health care professionals could use virtual reality in patient care.
“The HCF Catalyst program helped us see the greater potential to use virtual reality to not only educate patients but drive better understanding across the health system. We want to be part of the movement that progresses the Australian health system into today’s modern technological world. It is important that we encourage doctors to use technology that can improve patient outcomes,” says Dr Krishnananthan.
HCF and venture fund Slingshot select businesses that share a vision of making health care affordable, understandable, high quality and patient centric to participate in the yearly accelerator program. Program participants receive mentoring, marketing and infrastructure support. HCF Catalyst gave both Vantari VR founders education on the business side of running a heath Startup.
“As doctors we had clinical acumen and a good work ethic, but we needed support to learn new business skills. The HCF Catalyst program taught us how to create a sustainable business model and fundamental professional business skills like sales and pitching,” says Dr Paul.
Sheena Jack, Chief Executive Officer at HCF, is the driving force behind the health care accelerator program. She believes Vantari VR is a great example of how technology has the power to make health care more understandable and high-quality for patients.
“We run the HCF Catalyst program to support entrepreneurs like Dr Paul and Dr Krishnananthan who are using technology to make complex health care processes easier for Australian patients to understand and have potential to improve patient outcomes,” said Ms Jack.
“We think there is significant opportunity for the health care system to be using more advanced technology, like virtual reality, as research continues to show that it can benefit Australian patients.”
Applications for the 2019 HCF Catalyst program are now open until 23 November 2018. For more information, visit hcfcatalyst.slingshotters.com
Issued on behalf of HCF by Palin Communications. Media enquiries to:
- Karina Durham
Ph: (02) 9412 2255
M: 0402 307 056
- Rachel McWhinnie
Ph: 02 9412 2255
M: 0490 778 725
HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fund protecting Australians since 1932, covers over 1.5 million members with health and life insurance, community care, travel and pet insurance. On average over the last five years, HCF has paid out more cents in every dollar in premiums to members as benefits than the industry average. With over 35,000 specialists participating in its Medical Gap Cover Scheme and approximately 10,000 providers participating in its 100% back More for You programs, HCF gives members access to quality health care with no gaps or minimal costs compared to non-participating providers. To empower members to put their health first, HCF also offers a range of health and lifestyle services including its My Health Guardian health management program, mobile Victor Chang Health Checks and My Global Specialist second opinion service. HCF’s national network of retail outlets and Australian-based call centres have earned multi-award winning status. HCF members also have access to low cost, high quality services at HCF Dental Centres and HCF Eyecare Centres. Having contributed $50 million to support the health services research funded by the HCF Research Foundation, HCF is devoted to investing in the future of Australia’s health. To learn more about HCF go to hcf.com.au/about-us