From training the next generation of surgeons to testing new live-saving techniques. Virtual Reality, Augmented reality and Mixed reality are vital tools that will make these possible. But it’s not only the doctors that benefit from this technology, but the patients also have lots to gain, not just better-qualified attendings.
This is one of those elusive things that barely gets mentioned when it comes to talking about how VR & AR can make Healthcare system better. However, in reality, patient experience is the one field that gets the most out of the implementation of VR & AR to the operation.
Engagement and direct immersion matter a lot for the successful treatment of a patient, and it is often the one thing that gets limited attention due to its relatively inconsequential influence in a grand scheme of things. I mean – when it comes to matters of life and death, customer experience is not usually at the top of the list even in the most advanced hospitals. But with Augmented Reality solutions, we can significantly improve the overall patient experience and make it less problematic by adding pop-up information and navigating features among other things.
The other way, AR & VR healthcare applications can improve Patient Experience is via an extension. As you know, chronic patients often experience the discomfort of being partially left to their own devices in-between the procedures. VR & AR can make their experience a little bit less uncomfortable and probably more exciting.
It is a well-known fact that health care systems in every country are tangled with numerous challenges. These challenges come from multiple directions, and they are especially prominent on the ground level, as the situation seems to be in a permanent state of demand greatly exceeding the supply.
On the one hand, there are purely logistical issues, for example when the patient is located in a difficult-to-access place such as remote rural areas, then there is an issue with limited access and availability of equipment which is often outdated not even nearly as effective as it should be.
On the other hand, there is a permanent problem with the lack of available personnel in many local institutions. The reality of a situation is that many local hospitals are often struggling to handle intense workflow not to mention emergencies.
This becomes an almost endless cycle. All these challenges can be eased with the implementation of VR/AR. Furthermore, the addition of this technology can help patient relative stay on top of their care which in turn reduces accumulated stress on both the patient and relatives.
What if we added simulations
In medical training, most students are assigned one cadaver to perform different procedures for the duration of the year or even their entire stay in medical school. This means that space and opportunity to practice and eventually perfect their training can be very limited. 3D anatomical models belong to the earlier innovations with VR and AR which helps students learn about the human body in depth. Microsoft’s HoloLens and Organon 3D for the Rift are some of the tools that can be used to study anatomy and even conduct simple clinical examinations.
These tools and innovations can assist students in preparing for pressure-filled situations both in technique and disposition. Right now, 3D anatomical models and simulated surgeries are already significant milestones for future doctors and nurses, but the role of VR and AR can be still be explored at length by the medical and tech industries.
Getting to the stage where healthcare is not just about the next emergency that walks through the door but wholistic medical care for everyone is the goal of VR and AR manufacturers in the Healthcare sector and this I must say is a noble thing.