Mike Walsh 

Northwestern Medicine is one of the top medical systems in the country and we feel that patient experiences should reflect that. We aim for patients to leave our clinics not only enlightened, but inspired. In spite of the shift towards “personalized medicine,” ambulatory medicine lags behind the cutting edge technology employed in non-medical fields to convey information in unique ways and enhance customer interactions. Furthermore, the complex nature of neurosurgical concepts can be difficult to convey within the confines of a short outpatient visit. These factors, coupled with potentially long wait times, can limit a patient’s engagement in the treatment process. Similar to strategies employed by Disney to mitigate long wait times, we report on our use in the neurosurgery clinic of 3D modeling/virtual reality techniques to create a video-driven “patient experience” around the visit, starting a dialogue tailored to each patient’s individual disease process from the moment of arrival in the waiting room. We propose that this empowers patients to feel that neurosurgical concepts are accessible and understandable and enable the face-to-face time with the physician to begin at a more sophisticated level, ultimately improving the doctor-patient dialogue and patient involvement.


[Keywords for this session: VR, Virtual Reality, Team Training, Maya, Unity, PiXYZ, Experiential, Multiplayer, Analytics, Surgery] 

Speaker Bio

Dr. Michael Walsh is a board-certified neurosurgeon and a member of the faculty of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Neurosurgery. He graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and attended Indiana University School of Medicine. Following his general surgery internship at The Ohio State University, he completed his residency in neurosurgery at the University of Vermont. He then completed a Skull Base tumor/vascular fellowship at the University of Utah in 2009 under Dr. William Couldwell, during which he was selected to tour Japan with Dr. Takanori Fukushima to learn further advanced neurosurgical techniques. Research interests include virtual/augmented reality, 3D printing, and anatomical education. He and his neurosurgery team were recently awarded the prestigious Northwestern Medicine/Superior Ambulance Innovation Grant to continue his work with 3D modeling and video production for use in patient education. He has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 21 years, with whom he has four children, ranging in age from 9 to 20 (and a very strong-willed beagle).