Next Big Revolutionary in Healthcare: Augmented Reality
Some of the great technological advancements of the past 25 years, from CT Scans to wearable technology, have fundamentally changed the way in which patients are diagnosed and treated, and have also dramatically improved the way in which medical practitioners are trained and educated.
Now we can add the very exciting concept of Augmented Reality (AR) to the list.
As part of a global market expected to reach a value of over $1.5bn by 2020, Augmented reality in healthcare has wide reaching implications that will transform the medical sector; from providing real-time data and assistance during complicated surgical procedures, to supporting aftercare and administration, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of Augmented Reality’s potential benefits to our health and well-being.
In this article we look at how AR technology is already being used to make existing healthcare processes more efficient and effective, supporting physicians in their training and daily practices, and enhancing the quality of care offered to patients.
So, let me show you the best examples of augmented reality in healthcare
1) Augmented reality can save lives through showing defibrillators nearby
Patients often struggle when they have to describe their symptoms to their doctors accurately. In other cases, people often find themselves overreacting a medical situation or on the contrary, belittle the problem. In ophthalmology, augmented reality might be the answer for patient education.
EyeDecide is one of its kind medical app (available in usa), which uses the camera display for simulating the impact of specific conditions on a person’s vision. Using apps like EyeDecide (available in usa), doctors can show simulation of the vision of a patient suffering from a specific condition. For instance, the app can demonstrate the impact of Cataract or AMD and thus helping patients understand their symptoms and their actual medical state. If patients can experience the long-term effects of their lifestyle on their health, it could motivate people to make positive changes.
3) Pharma companies can provide more innovative drug information
Have you ever been curious about how a drug works in your body? Even if you got interested in discovering how the distant world of pills and medicaments work, I bet you lost all your enthusiasm after you read the boring and undecipherable drug description. Now, augmented reality is here to change it.
With the help of AR, patients can see how the drug works in 3D in front of their eyes instead of just reading long descriptions on the bottle. Lab workers could monitor their experiments with augmented reality equipment. In factories, workers could start working without hands on trainings as the device would tell them what to do, and how to do it.
4)Training & Education Applications of AR
While it is of undoubted importance that medical students understand the theory behind surgical procedures, disease pathology, and human anatomy, they must also understand the real life implications. Augmented Reality technology allows medical training to become much more interactive and immediate, helping trainee physicians quickly join the dots from the theory in their books and white papers to the real world consequences.
For instance, apps can be used to overlay and display anatomical information on a 3D-printed human skeleton, allowing the student to revise the names of the bones, while offering a better understanding of how the human body operates. And AR can even be used to add interactive and valuable elements to the textbooks themselves. Instead of viewing a 2D illustration of the human heart, by simply placing an AR app over the specific page in the book, this can become a 3D beating heart, with more detail than could ever be offered by a simple diagram or photograph.
5) Patients Benefits with Augmented Reality
For patients, Augmented Reality can significantly improve the quality of treatment they receive from their healthcare provider. For starters, the risks associated with minimally invasive surgery (which involves making a small incision in the patient’s skin and inserting medical instruments) can be reduced by keeping the most important information front and center for the surgeon.
Where previously this type of surgery required monitors in the operating room to display vital statistics and images being delivered by an endoscopic camera, thanks to AR a surgeon can now wear smart glasses during the procedure and stay focused on the task at hand, therefore minimizing mistakes and reducing the need to multitask more than is perhaps necessary.