- Cigna announced it has become the first company that teamed up with Microsoft to offer patients a holographic-enabled game called BioBall aimed at making health screenings more fun.
- Microsoft’s HoloLens technology, which is the "world’s first self-contained holographic computer," senses a player’s pulse and heartbeat as they capture images on a screen while holding the light bowling-size ball.
- HoloLens runs on Windows 10 and does not require wires, phones or a PC connection.
Stephen Cassell, chief brand officer at Cigna, told MobiHealthNews in an email that Microsoft’s technology could be customized to meet an employer’s needs and interested clients saw the workplace as a place to promote wellness and preventive care.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality are hot topics these days. Healthcare has not missed seeing the opportunity. At last week’s HIMSS17 conference, executives from companies like IBM Watson Health and NantHealth extolled AI and its potential to address problems in healthcare. Potential uses include automatically rescheduling patients to a preferred date or time and clinical trial matching protocols.
Virtual reality is also being used in medical education and visualization to fine tune surgeries and to help patients understand treatment options.
Microsoft has been wading deeper into healthcare, moving from wearables in 2014 to collaborating with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to create care delivery products using cloud computing and artificial intelligence. In 2015, the tech giant spent $12 billion on R&D, a sizeable chunk focused on healthcare solutions.
Its healthcare technologies may attract more companies as the focus on keeping patients from coming back to the hospital continues to increase in the industry, requiring more collaboration among providers and patients, which can be enabled by technology. "You can't get at quality and outcomes with just one physician taking entire charge of what may happen in a complex patient or a complex workflow," Dr. Rasu Shrestha, UPMC chief innovation officer and executive vice president of UPMC Enterprises, told Healthcare Dive.