HoloCare and Sopra Steria

June 2, 2023
How our partnership is changing the future of surgery

We are extremely proud of our partnership with Sopra Steria, a European consulting and digital services powerhouse. Since the beginning, Sopra Steria has supported us in our mission to deliver smarter, safer surgery for patients.  

Solfrid Skilbrigt, HR & Strategy Director at Sopra Steria and chairperson of HoloCare and Ronny Jevard, CFO of the Nordics at Sopra Steria and board member of HoloCare, have both been involved with HoloCare since our inception. For this blog, we spoke with them to discuss how HoloCare began, building our mixed reality (MR) platform together, and our vision for the future.

The beginning of our partnership

In 2016, Microsoft introduced its mixed reality headset, HoloLens. Ronny recalls being approached by a team member, who had come across the technology in the US, about the possibility of bringing this innovative and exciting technology to Norway. Sopra Steria quickly recognised the ground-breaking potential of the HoloLens in healthcare and as a Microsoft partner, they were able to gain access to the headset. Sopra Steria collaborated with Oslo University Hospital’s Intervention Centre to apply immersive augmented reality technology to different healthcare settings, with the first HoloLens headset in Europe being used in this project.

After the introduction of HoloLens technology to Norway, a period of research and innovation in holographic technology took place. The work was carried out with clinicians from Oslo University Hospital specialising in fields such as cardiology, hepatology, and orthopedics. Right from the beginning, clinicians were involved providing insights into the most pressing issues faced by clinical teams. Sopra Steria consultants provided technical input and played an instrumental role in helping to develop software that transforms 2D medical images – such as CT and MRI scans – into interactive 3D anatomical holograms. HoloCare AS was established as a company in 2019 to realise the potential of mixed reality solutions in healthcare, bringing together creative technologists from Sopra Steria with medical expertise from Oslo University Hospital. 

Ronny was one of the first people to believe in the vision of HoloCare and provided financial support to kickstart the project. He recalls that the initial challenge that the hospital wanted to address dated back to a PhD thesis from several years ago. The hospital needed a way to help surgeons visualise organs in 3D ahead of surgery. Prior to HoloLens, they had attempted to create 3D versions using 3D printing or simulations on computer screens. “It was really interesting to work on solving their problem with this technology and making a 3D hologram instead of a physical product” notes Ronny. 

Our partnership with Sopra Steria has continued to flourish for several years. We are now a global healthtech business comprising a community of passionate clinicians, engineers, designers and healthtech experts. This partnership between a startup and a corporate entity leverages the skills and knowledge of both organisations to achieve a shared goal of delivering smarter, safer surgery for patients.

Supporting a Norwegian healthtech startup

We are fortunate to still have Sopra Steria's support after seven years. Solfrid shared how the feedback from healthcare professionals who use HoloCare in their research work is a significant driver behind their continued backing of HoloCare’s mission, and that seeing their reactions to using our holographic software for the first time is "like opening a new world to them”. Feedback from surgeons who easily understand, adopt and use the technology highlights the potential of bringing HoloCare to the marketplace and demonstrates what the future of medicine can be. This step-by-step feedback is critical to our platform’s success and something that is really important for us at HoloCare. 

Funding and technical expertise from Sopra Steria has been crucial to our growth and development. The unique ability to work with their consultants who specialise in AI and mixed reality programming has expedited the product development process. Board members like Ronny and Solfrid, who have been involved since the start, provide invaluable mentoring and coaching and support the HoloCare leadership team to manage challenges as they arise. Thanks to our strong partnership with Sopra Steria, we have been able to establish our product and company quickly both in Europe and further afield.

The future of mixed reality surgery

“The world is how we shape it” describes Solfrid and together, we aim to bring our cutting-edge 3D holographic software to operating rooms around the world, and see a world on which HoloCare is used both in preoperative settings – such as surgical planning and medical training – as well as intraoperatively. As we navigate regulatory requirements for clinical use, Sopra Steria's extensive network will be highly beneficial in helping us expand our reach. 

To realise the global potential of HoloLens, we will need to bring in additional partners and investors who can support us in scaling our platform and reaching new healthcare providers. We are excited about the future of our partnership with Sopra Steria and look forward to seeing how our relationship continues to grow.