Haemophilia support: AR Joint Scanner unveiled at the CHW
An Australian-designed, augmented reality (AR) technology unveiled at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW) will give young people living with haemophilia a glimpse into the future and help them stay on track with treatment.
Haemophilia, an incurable, inherited rare blood disorder, is estimated to impact more than 3000 Australians.1 It is diagnosed when there is not enough clotting factor VIII(8) or IX(9) in the blood to help control bleeding in the body.1 This bleeding most commonly occurs in the joints of the knees, elbows and ankles,2 and can lead to joint disease if not treated adequately. As haemophilia is also an inherited condition diagnosed at birth, joint disease caused by haemophilia can begin to develop as early as the age of 20.2,3
The AR Joint Scanner, which will be used by clinical staff at the Kids’ Factor Zone at Westmead Children’s Hospital’s Paediatric Haematology Unit, will help educate young patients and their families on the possible future impact of joint disease and the importance of maintaining a regular treatment program to help prevent bleeding episodes.
The scanner uses a ‘leap motion’ 3D camera attached to a computer to scan and map a person’s hand when placed under the device. A specially designed software then overlays imagery onto the user’s hand to replicate normal aging and the impact of joint disease.
While the scanner uses only the user’s hand as its reference point, it cleverly allows the user to expand the replicated view on the screen beyond the hand to see what is happening elsewhere in the body, focusing on specific joints known to be impacted by haemophilia including the shoulder, knee or ankle.
“Technological advances like augmented reality, seen in this Joint Scanner, allow healthcare professionals to bring important health education to life that directly engages their patients. We know improved health education can help patients make informed decisions about managing their health conditions,” said Murray White, Joint Scanner developer from Crash Bang Wallop.
Tim Demos, a 28-year-old Melbourne-based ambulance worker who lives with haemophilia A, said the Scanner provides an insightful and startling lens into what life can look like if he doesn’t continue to pay attention to his haemophilia management.
“I’ve always felt I had a pretty good handle on managing my haemophilia, but even so, it’s easy to disregard the impact of my condition in the next 10 years. This Scanner has helped to strengthen my understanding that what I do now will determine how I live with my haemophilia for the rest of my life”, Tim said.
Sanofi has developed the Augmented Reality Joint Scanner, which is provided on loan to hospitals across Australia, including Westmead Children’s Hospital, as an educational resource for patients and their families.
1. Haemophilia FAQs. Haemophilia Foundation Australia. Available at https://www.haemophilia.org.au/about-bleeding-disorders/faqs. Accessed 16 March 2022
2. Knobe et al. Haemophilia and joint disease: pathophysiology, evaluation and management. Journal of Comorbidity 2011; 1:51-59
3. Melchiorre, D et al. Pathophysiology of hemophilic arthropathy. J Clin Med. 2017 Jul; 6(7): 63. Published online 2017 Jun 25. DOI: 10.3390/jcm6070063
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