Three students using HoloAnatomy with image of brain projected between them

HoloAnatomy app earns another top honor

HoloAnatomy, the mixed-reality app that Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic introduced last spring, has won yet another accolade.

It is one of 50 winners of a 2017 Digital Edge Award, a competition so fierce that the organization managing it actually doubled the number of recipients. Previous recipients include CVS Health, Arizona State University and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

“This honor is another indication of the value of collaboration in innovation,” said Sue Workman, Case Western Reserve’s vice president for University Technology and chief information officer, whose office nominated HoloAnatomy for this contest. “HoloAnatomy became possible because of our partnership with Cleveland Clinic on the Health Education Campus (HEC) and our shared search for the best possible emerging technologies to serve our medical, nursing and dental students. Microsoft HoloLens represented an extraordinary opportunity for us to realize those aspirations, and Microsoft has been an exceptional partner ever since we first came together two years ago.”

HoloAnatomy was the first third-party HoloLens app to appear on Microsoft’s online store, and represents a demonstration of the holographic anatomy curriculum the university is developing for medical students who arrive when the HEC opens in the summer of 2019. This fall, organizers tested part of the curriculum—involving the chest—with current medical students who had just completed several weeks of study of that area with cadavers.  Even with the earlier experience, 85 percent of the more than three dozen students participating said afterward that they had learned something new with HoloLens. Watch a video about the class.

Mark Griswold, a professor of radiology and faculty leader of Microsoft HoloLens education-related initiatives, directs the Interactive Commons, a university-wide entity that aims to help faculty, staff and students use a range of visualization technologies to enhance teaching and research. He also led the team that developed the HoloAnatomy app.

In September, Griswold and colleagues were on hand when the HoloAnatomy app bested two other finalists—one from David Attenborough and one from Google—to win the immersive virtual reality and augmented reality category in the 2016 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards competition. That international contest seeks to recognize excellence in science communication across multiple forms of media, and this year drew more than 500 entries.

The Digital Edge awards will be presented this spring at Agenda 17, a leadership conference hosted by IDG Enterprise, the organization that publishes CIO and Computerworld, among other offerings.

“The complexity and scale of the initiatives in the Digital Edge 50 show how quickly organizations are progressing to the next phase of digital transformation,” said Anne McCrory, Digital Edge program chair and group VP, customer experience and operations, IDG Enterprise Events. “They are taking advantage of new capabilities, such as AI and deep machine learning, to enhance their mobile and analytics practices worldwide. They are finding dramatic results from the cloud, and serving customers in faster and more elegant ways. Their adoption of agile, extreme programming and completely reworked business processes show how even the most traditional businesses can go big with digital with the right vision and leadership.”