4 Reasons The Healthcare Industry Must Get Ready For AR/VR

For the last two years, the nearly two billion global frontline workers have played a critical role in supporting our communities and economies, all while weathering health risks, supply chain issues, and labor shortages. Augmented and virtual reality has the potential to change all that. Whether it is affirming diagnosis, treatment of patients, or harnessing its power to educate and inform, AR/VR has the potential to revolutionize working practices across the healthcare sector and ultimately improve patient care. Here are four reasons why the healthcare industry should embrace these technologies.

#1 - Helping to Train Professionals

Normally, students learn all about anatomy using an anatomical model or a 2D image. However, with augmented reality, students can view the details in 3D at any angle. One real-life example is FundamentalVR. FundamentalVR offers simulator-based training programs for surgeons aimed at helping them to rehearse and improve their techniques and skills by providing a safe, controlled virtual environment. It also has a tactile feedback feature.

#2 - Assistance Tools for Surgeons

AR/VR is becoming the gold standard for the medical industry, especially in surgery. Surgeons are currently using tools that range from VR headsets to haptic gloves to mimic real surgical procedures, boosting preparedness and efficiency in the operating room. A few real-life examples include:

  • Augmedics - Augmedics developed the first augmented reality (AR) navigation system aimed at being used in surgery and is called xvision. The technology projects a 3D representation onto the surgeon’s retina using a headset to see the patient’s anatomy through skin and tissue as if using X-ray vision. It helps the surgeon to simultaneously attend to the patient and see the navigation data.
  • HoloAnatomy by Microsoft - HoloAnatomy app was the first AR healthcare educational application that provided students with a digitized, interactive anatomy curriculum. It uses mixed reality technology that assists in studying human anatomy with a high level of detail and interactivity.

These tools also help hospitals save time and money. Storing images and patient data on one AR/VR platform reduces the need for expensive screens and unnecessary staff.

#3 - Enhancing Patient Consults

By doing a remote consultation, both you and your doctor can arrange the time flexibly, anywhere and anytime. AR technology can collect information and provide access to this information to the frontline workers while they are still sitting behind their desks. This type of interaction is safer than the interaction through physical proximity and with the current COVID-19 pandemic, this obviously becomes a perfect solution. One example is PatientAR - an augmented reality platform developed for a medical device orthopedics company to enhance doctor-patient communication. It is designed to be used by both doctor and patient at the same time to visually review the surgical plan to understand outcomes and risks of the procedure.

#4 - Improving Diagnosis and Treatment

It is essential for patients to feel safe and to understand their diagnosis, surgery plan, risks and outcomes. Healthcare consumers are looking for providers who can successfully treat them the first time around with little to no disruption to their daily lives. The AR applications in healthcare can gather details, reports and statistics about the patient. They can perform full-body scans to visualize these symptoms and uncover them. A simple example comes from AccuVein, the global leader in vein visualization. Here, a map of veins is overlaid onto the surface of the patient’s skin to help health professionals find veins more easily (for starting IVs and drawing blood). The technology is primarily used to help clinicians find veins that otherwise couldn’t be seen or felt, and evidence shows that vein visualization dramatically improves clinicians’ ability to find these difficult veins on the first attempt – by as much as 98 percent in pediatric cases and 96 percent with adult patients.

The Future of AR in Healthcare

With 4k video resolution, higher internet speed, availability of 5G, higher production of raw materials and resources for development, and adaptation of the VR and AR medical apps- this sector will only continue to grow and evolve.

One of the market drivers for both- AR and VR- is the potential reduction of manpower. But the primary driver is the scope of medical advancements that it provides. Scientists are looking forward to utilizing VR/AR medical apps along with research stats to come up with better diagnoses. VR/AR can potentially come up with similar treatments that may develop a cure for cancer, diabetes, AIDS, and even help with better research with stem cells, plasma, working of T cells, and many more.

Choosing the Right Partner

AR is developing at a breakneck pace and will remain a powerful force that shapes healthcare for decades to come. To take advantage of this revolutionary technology, healthcare leaders should make investments in AR tools that best serve their organization. To make those investments, leaders need the right partner - versed in AR applications and implementation. We offer a comprehensive portfolio of IT and mobility products, services, and capabilities globally. By harnessing AR’s power today, you can deliver exceptional patient experiences, enabling patients to connect with and manage their care in ways that have never been possible before. Let’s talk, today!

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