Minority, veteran owned firm awarded over $254K from the National Science Foundation to continue research & development of novel, medtech innovation designed to improve outcomes for medical facilities.
JACKSONVILLE, FL, September 01, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — A prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) will support a Jacksonville Florida based veteran entrepreneur in exploring new ways mixed reality (MR) can help hospital sterile processing departments improve productivity and training. And as a result, improve patient outcomes while saving hospitals money.
Sterile Geeks VR Inc, was recently was awarded a grant of nearly $255,000 grant to pursue a novel, technical approach for Sterile Processing Departments using the Microsoft Hololens 2, which is a mixed reality (MR) based technology. The SBIR NSF Phase 1 grant provides support for startups seeking to implement technological advances within industries.
“Our approach is an introduction of a new concept to a critical industry in healthcare often overlooked within the surgical spectrum,” Jones said. “Sterile Processing Department professionals are a highly valuable part of the surgical team yet, they work in high stress, high turnover, and often, low reward work environments. We hope to improve the work experience through the introduction of virtual technology”. “Mixed reality (MR) will allow for tremendous versatility within SPDs that didn’t exist before. There are things we can do with MR that haven’t been attempted previously — things that can greatly improve the productivity, education, and training process.”
Jones has assembled a dream team to assist in the research and development of this multi-faceted solution designed to seamlessly coexist with a Sterile Processing Department’s current infrastructure while rendering important productivity, training, and educational information into easy-to-follow holographic content. This approach effectively directs the user’s attention to the key virtual objects relevant to the current task at hand.
A key component of the technology being developed by Jones will use Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO), which will allow a user to inspect objects such as surgical instrumentation in 3-D during the inspection process to better visualize irregularities before they are placed in a surgical instrument set and prepared for sterilization.
For example, a typical surgical instrument set can contain dozens of instruments. One instrument with a microscopic crack used during a procedure could easily break, creating a serious safety issue for all involved or worse, an instrument could still contain bioburden on the its surface, contaminating the entire surgical field if not detected prior to set assembly and sterilization.
“The initial focus for our concept, STEAMVision®, was a virtual reality (VR) product, but I discovered that it didn’t properly translate to a real-time, real-world solution,” Jones said. “I wanted to highlight the abilities of the SPD technician while being more productive and efficient by keeping free the most important tools a technician has, their eyes and hands.”
Innovations on the training development will involve remote user capabilities allowing a trainer or supervisor to guide a team member without having to be in the immediate vicinity. Should a trainee need assistance, they can obtain real time guidance from training staff or a fellow technician from anywhere a secure internet signal is available.
The STEAMVision® training module is a versatile component of the technology, intended to improve cognitive skills, confidence, and overall efficiency for any SPD technician regardless of skill level.
Jones said his hope is that through the introduction of mixed reality technology, SPD technicians will finally have a tool that will reduce the high levels of stress, improve productivity, and ultimately take SPD technician jobs from low reward opportunities to higher paying salaries more in line with the levels of importance and responsibility required as part of the operating room umbrella.
“By reducing the time required to train technicians and, at the same time, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of those trainings, hospitals can save time and money while reducing hospital acquired infections, surgical delays, and most importantly, costly errors,” Jones said. “We think we can strategically impact healthcare with what we are developing.”
Mixed reality (MR) is technology that allows a person to incorporate digital content such as (images, sound, and text) within a real-world environment. Using the Microsoft Hololens 2 headset provides a heads up, hands-free solution to assist sterile processing department (SPD) technicians in working more efficiently. They will have the ability to receive on demand and real time assistance remotely from another STEAMVision user regardless of their location, providing both the trainee and the trainer to effectively multitask while performing other critical tasks.
Sterile Geeks VR Inc, is a minority and veteran owned medtech firm based in Jacksonville, FL. The company develops virtual productivity and training solutions for the healthcare The CEO, Scotty Jones, is the founder of Sterile Geeks VR and creator of the STEAMVision® concept. Mr. Jones is an proud Air Force veteran and native of eastern North Carolina.
In addition to over 30 years medical experience, he has earned several degrees, including Unity certification to develop virtual, augmented, and mixed reality software applications.
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