ThirdEye brings mixed reality tech to first responders with Crozer Health partnership

After years of anticipation, mixed reality is coming to healthcare workers on the front lines.

Crozer Health, a health system in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, is teaming up with ThirdEye Gen, a developer of augmented and mixed reality enterprise solutions.

The company will offer its mixed reality product suite to the hospital system, allowing doctors to connect with first responders to offer remote instructions and insights about a patient’s condition before they are transported to the hospital.

Mixed reality blends physical and digital worlds, displaying real-time health information and insights that interact with the surrounding physical environment.

For example, a first responder wearing ThirdEye’s mixed reality glasses can take a patient’s temperature via thermal sensor, view instructions sent by the doctor and transmit audio and video of their surroundings back to the hospital.

“Our EMS team worked closely with ThirdEye to implement augmented reality remote assistance for frontline medics. By using augmented and mixed reality, we can enable hands-free remote assistance to enhance the care provided for our patients,” said Bruce Egan, chief of emergency medical services at Crozer, in a statement. “We’re continuing to collaborate with ThirdEye to keep adding new first responder-specific features.”

RELATED: AppliedVR nabs $36M to scale up virtual reality platform to support more health conditions 

ThirdEye’s RespondEye augmented reality software was developed specifically to support first responders by working with Crozer Health’s paramedics and doctors. The platform integrates with EMS backend systems to offer custom EMS protocols and can run on ThirdEye’s mixed reality glasses as well as iOS and Android products.

The company first piloted the glasses in 2020 in response to COVID-related safety concerns, touting the technology as a way for first responders to interact with potentially infected patients and check their vitals without touching them.

“At ThirdEye, we tailor our software and hardware to meet the needs of those on the frontline,” said Nick Cherukuri, CEO and founder of ThirdEye, in a statement. “To have the most impact in the healthcare industry and aid in the fight against COVID-19, we obtained our HIPAA certification for the X2 MR Glasses and RespondEye platform for first responders. This ensures that patient data is securely accessed and that medics have the tools needed to succeed.”

RELATED: VR can help underserved patients, but reimbursement challenges stymie broader adoption, study finds 

Virtual reality solutions have been gaining momentum in healthcare in recent years, particularly technologies targeted at chronic care management.

AppliedVR grabbed $36 million in a November series B round to build out its virtual reality therapeutics for pain management.

A few days after the round was announced, the Food and Drug Administration approved one of the company’s solutions that uses virtual behavioral therapies to treat chronic lower back pain. 

Mixed reality technologies face many barriers to adoption, including a lack of reimbursement and a lack of accessibility for underserved populations.

Healthcare providers told researchers at AppliedVR and the University of California, San Francisco that the technologies must be developed with diverse patient populations in mind and must include those patients in clinical trials.