University Bonn Hospital

Harnessing VR Technology To Transform Medical Care


University Hospital Bonn (UKB) is a leading German medical facility with 38 clinics and 31 institutes. Internationally renowned for research and teaching, UKB connects medical advancements with patient care. With NVIDIA CloudXR, UKB utilizes virtual environments to train surgeons and medical students, preparing them for procedures.



Use Case




UKB Uses NVIDIA CloudXR and Medicalholodeck Solutions to Train Physicians

Every year, UKB treats around 420,000 outpatients, 50,000 inpatients as well as 40,000 emergency patients and has the third-highest case mix index (case severity) in Germany. To provide the best care for these patients, UKB has been exploring methods to better prepare their surgeons for various tasks and challenges.

This special demand for continuous, advanced training brought Dr. Jan Arensmeyer and Dr. Philipp Feodorovici to the world of extended reality (XR). The team at UKB was introduced to use cases of real-time image reconstruction using Medicalholodeck and streamed with NVIDIA CloudXR™, which delivers high-fidelity, immersive XR experiences across 5G and Wi-Fi networks.

The implementation was carried out as part of UKB's Innovative Secure Medical Campus (ISMC) project.

Image courtesy of UKB

Elevating Precision of Medical Procedures with VR

As surgeons at a leading medical facility, the medical team at UKB is tasked with performing a wide variety of complicated and challenging surgical procedures. In the field of thoracic surgery—which operates on organs within the chest, including the heart, lungs and esophagus—procedures demand immense precision and accuracy.

Planning for such surgeries in 3D has significant benefits. The combination of Medicalholodeck and CloudXR allows medical teams to reduce the amount of necessary hardware and expenses. Now the only hardware users require is their preferred VR headset and a stable internet connection.

Dr. Arensmeyer and Dr. Feodorovici integrated VR technology into their regular surgery lectures, where students were able to interact with recreations of complex medical images in a 3D virtual world.

Incorporating VR into the training process allowed both experienced surgeons and students to better prepare for diverse challenges with high-performance visualization. Medicalholodeck’s integration with CloudXR opens up a world of new possibilities while reducing costs at the same time.

Opening New Doors to the Surgical Field with Spatial Computing

Medicalholodeck uses integrated AI to reconstruct Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) images and videos – such as CT and MRI scans. A major benefit of this real-time reconstruction for surgeons is that they don’t have to import or change the environment. Performing real-time reconstruction for large datasets requires immense GPU power. The team at UKB uses NVIDIA A40 GPUs in a Supermicro system configured and deployed with the support of NVIDIA ELITE partner SVA System Vertrieb Alexander GmbH to power the heavy VR workflows.

With CloudXR set up on the hospital’s campus, all physicians train with the original data in a high-performance environment, with no latency. “This unique on-premise medical XR cloud solution is developed considering Germany’s highest data security and data privacy standards,” mentioned Dr. Feodorovici.

Surgeons can easily connect with students from any place at any time, and they can teach techniques based on real patients' 3D data in a fully immersive virtual environment.

“For real time surgical training, you need high-quality GPUs to be used for the immersive experience,” said Dr. Arensmeyer. “By using CloudXR, we can get access to the highest fidelity environments, running on the highest quality A40 GPUs. And CloudXR allows little to no latency, which is critical because it helps surgeons be fully immersed in their virtual surgery.”

By running Medicalholodeck from on-prem servers and streaming via CloudXR, surgeons around and off campus can collaboratively advance surgical planning virtually.

UKB conducted a survey among 100 students enrolled in Thoracic surgery lectures and nearly 100 percent responded that they not only benefited from the technology but also had fun with the experience. Dr. Arensmeyer said, “Students are more likely to show higher retention rates and it encourages young students who are interested in the surgical roles to explore the field.”

With Medicalholodeck’s platform and CloudXR, the team at UKB experienced many benefits, including:

  • Full-Immersion Surgical Planning: For surgeons to thoroughly train through VR, they need a fully immersive surgery experience. With Medicalholodeck and CloudXR, they are allowed to plan the procedure as if they are performing on a real patient, thanks to having little to no latency in streaming.
  • Powerful GPU Support: With 6-8 NVIDIA A40 GPUs, the team at UKB is able to support the prominent demand for GPU performance when manipulating real-time medical imaging data.
  • Fun Learning Experience: The team at UKB learned that curricula that incorporate VR significantly helps students and young professionals to understand anatomy and the surgical approach better than conventional teaching methods and has the potential to increase retention.

Image courtesy of Medicalholodeck INC.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which has the highest density of university hospitals in the country, is funding the project at UKB. Last year, the hospital received a grant of 17.5 million euros from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization, and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia for the digitization lighthouse project, which is unique in Germany. The objective is to evaluate and compare ‌traditional methodologies of learning to trainings that incorporate XR.

Dr. Feodorovici stated that AI and XR will be vital in future surgeries and further mentioned his recent visit to Boston for a Cardiothoracic surgery conference. He presented UKB’s use case of VR technology in teaching and surgery preparation and was met with an awed audience.

“Everyone sees this as the future of the medical training field,” said Dr. Feodorovici, “With our partners Medicalholodeck and SVA we are currently working on trespassing the limits of VR to adopt the current CloudXR setup for mixed reality applications with the aim to improve even more collaborative preprocedural planning and enable surgical navigation”.

Since the solution uses DICOM format images, there's a much larger opportunity for XR to influence the medical standard of procedures.

“By using CloudXR, we can get access to the highest fidelity environments, running on the highest quality A40 GPUs.”

Dr. Jan Arensmeyer

Ready to Get Started?

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