By: Taru M.
23 Oct, 2021
Augmented Reality in healthcare has begun to revolutionize the healthcare industry. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in healthcare are emerging as the leading technologies to transform medicine and surgery. Augmented Reality helps in visualizing a digital environment around the patients and the medical team.
This is accomplished by integrating digital information into the patient’s/doctor’s environments. AR includes sounds, graphics, and touch feedback to improve the user’s healthcare experience. With AR using computer-generated capabilities, the objects that exist in the real world are enhanced. There are various uses of Augmented and virtual Reality in healthcare. These include medical imaging, medical education, training nurses, etc.
This article will see some of the most significant benefits of Augmented Reality in healthcare and how AR will impact the medical industry soon.
1. Top ways how Augmented Reality is reshaping the healthcare industry
a. Massive impact on medical education
b. Greater accuracy and efficiency in surgery
c. Easy diagnosis of patient’s symptoms
d. Easy remote consultation
f. Pediatric MRI evaluation
g. Assisting the visually impaired
h. Visualization of the peripheral vasculature
i. Easy guide creation for medical staff
j. Augmented Reality – Bottlenecks and ways to eliminate them
2. The future of Augmented Reality in healthcare
Augmented Reality has excellent advantages in medical education. The training of medical students is a real challenge as of now. If you have ever studied animal or human anatomy, you would know that the movement, in this case, is done either by anatomical models or 2D images. This is complex as the students don’t get a chance to dive deeper into the learnings. Not everyone is capable of absorbing the same perspectives and views through this way of learning.
With the dawn of Augmented Reality in healthcare education, the education and training of medical students are changing. With 3D models Augmented into real life, students can absorb new and exciting insights by watching through any angle.
Additionally, students can practice conducting surgery not on real-life bodies but virtually. This will eliminate the need of harming the patient, which is far more technically safer.
With AR, surgeons can augment scan results into the patient’s body, which can be helpful during surgery. AR helps during surgery, and post-surgery AR can be applied to reduce post-trauma complications and scars. One crucial area where doctors and surgeons struggle is knowing the exact location to use injection; AR can help see the place. A startup has recently developed a technical solution to identify the veins to apply the injection correctly. According to the University of Alberta and Salento, AR proves to be “significantly useful” in laparoscopic surgery.
Surgeons use image reconstruction technology using AR to reconstruct the tumour. It enables surgeons to view x-rays and locate tumours. In short, Augmented Reality in healthcare increase the ability to navigate with precise and accurate results.
Many people struggle while explaining the exact symptoms to the doctors. This, in turn, also challenges the doctor to identify the real root cause of the imperfection. With Augmented Reality in healthcare, explaining and understanding symptoms will become more accessible, which will, in turn, pave the way for the correct diagnosis.
Eyecare is one such example that simulates the vision of a patient who suffers from an imperfection. This lets the doctor examine the eye condition without struggling to know the details of the patient.
Another helpful factor that AR brings with it is easy presentation and collection of patient history. A great example of the same is Augmedix that utilizes google glass to ease down the administration process. The doctor can wear this glass and see the entire patient history without depending on the manual reports or computers!
With the covid situation, telemedicine has become the need of the hour. Consultation with a distance is a new norm, and it will gain more and more impact very soon. With AR in healthcare, doctors can be consulted, and patients can be treated through video conferences. These consultation calls can be scheduled at a mutual time availability of the patient and the doctor. With AR visualization, the doctor can see the patient’s data. This increases the efficiency of the consultations and saves time and energy for both parties.
One of the prime advantages of using Augmented Reality (AR) for training is the ability to practice anywhere, even at the comfort of your home. Imagine seeing 3D Scans of your teeth right in front of your eye. AR scanners with smart glasses help real-time exchange data that allows the dentist to build precise crowns or caps. It helps to share experiences and set up the most effective communication between specialists.
Specific AR software is used to determine the length of time a child can sit still before an MRI exam. The doctors then use the gathered information to determine whether the child will need an anesthetic during the MRI procedure.
There are about 36 million people worldwide who are blind. It is hard for so many of these people to navigate new spaces, and it can be a frustrating experience for them, but Augmented Reality can help them. AR-operated glasses enhance the visual appearances of daily objects and provide a 3D visualization to visually impaired people. This allows blind people or those with severe visual impairments find lost things, recognize loved ones, and navigate easily in their environment.
Technical solutions like Accuvein help clinicians to identify vein patency on the first go. This helps in giving the patients a seamless experience and minor discomfort during venipuncture procedures.
The virtual guide creation in the hospitals is a boon for all the stakeholders. For the workers, it assists in visualizing the maintenance and repair process step by step. While for the visitors, it enhances the experience by helping them to navigate around the building.
Virtual Reality in the healthcare market has excellent advantages. But as there are two sides to every coin, similarly, there are specific pros and cons of virtual reality in healthcare. Like any new technology, a website development company must understand the advantages and disadvantages of adopting virtual reality in the healthcare market.
Virtual reality use in healthcare is set to bring a renaissance in the healthcare market. It simplifies many areas like enhancing design and training, improving efficiencies, improving safety, and saving costs. Still, there are certain shortcomings. These include a lack of knowledge and digital skillset to execute the website development services with AR.
There is also a lack of understanding and risk of conflicts with hardware parts and operating systems. Along with technical barriers comes the cost barriers also. Since the technology is new, the AR niche and community support are very few at this moment. This will surely gear up, but it invests time and money into AR, a bit challenging for a website development company or other technology platforms.
Privacy issues are another primary concern with Augmented Reality in healthcare. The data that is transmitted into the AR apps and tools are not encrypted. This might lead to the breach of the HIPAA – healthcare Information portability and Accountability act. Since the data transmitted into AR devices are not encrypted, crucial and confidential patient information can become vulnerable.
Depth perception is another primary concern. Many times the depth of the virtual objects and their blinding with the actual thing might not achieve perfection. In such cases, it becomes difficult to identify and differentiate the real from the virtual. Thus procedures like depth perception, developing robust tracking methods, and developing intuitive User interfaces become a real challenge. These are some of the bottlenecks that need to be removed for the widespread adoption of Augmented Reality in healthcare.
It becomes really important for a technological development company to carefully assess the objectives of their business and leverage AR technology to earn good revenues.
The future of Augmented Reality seems promising. It can improve the process of brain surgery, reform radiology, and enhance diagnostic methods. AR promises to share the medical skills and knowledge to help in the medical advancement of remote areas required the most. AR allows students and healthcare workers to envision the data with 3D portrayals of bodies.
Patient education is another area that will see tremendous benefits soon. This includes medical education to the patient to understand the treatment processes and how medicines work. New initiatives will be developed along AcuVein and Eyedecide to boost better medical facilities, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. Virtual Reality in the healthcare market will surely bring great heights shortly.
Be it about the health workers, doctors, patients, or medical staff, Augmented Reality has advantages for all in the healthcare market. It increases the accessibility of medical healthcare by boosting telemedicine. Future medical doctors’ practical training and education get simplified by practicing on 3D real-life bodies without human body intervention. AR is set to enhance medical surgeries by augmenting the natural environment and providing an in-depth view and understanding of the root causes of diseases. Engagement of patients becomes more accessible and better.
Although there are bottlenecks, seeing the advancement of the medical industry, an optimistic approach can be taken that these will also be overcome shortly. Virtual Reality in healthcare will mark the dawn of a new era of healthcare and bring immense benefits to society at large.
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