- How is virtual reality used in medicine? There are lots of use cases where augmented reality technology comes in handy. AR experience is equally useful for doctors and medical centers as well as for patients. Let’s take a look at how healthcare can benefit from AR and VR technologies.
What is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality for healthcare?
There are minor distinctions between the use of AR and VR in healthcare. Augmented reality allows the gathering of important data and, after that, shows this data as 3D models. At the same time, virtual reality technology is used for the simulation of the environment virtually. But both can be used successfully in the medical environment.
Augmented reality technology complements the real world by visualizing data invisible to the human eye. AR is a more flexible technology compared to a virtual one, although the patient and doctor are not completely immersed.
Virtual reality technology is a complete immersion in a virtual environment using special equipment. In this case, the patient or doctor receives the most complete picture that is only limited by the boundaries of the virtual world.
Both technologies have their own applications for healthcare services. Let’s find out how they work.
Augmented reality can be used for healthcare professionals in two ways – in the aspect of education and training, and in the aspect of diagnostics and treatment. AR also can significantly improve the quality of care. Using smart glasses and similar devices, surgeons can monitor vitals and important relevant information while performing surgery, reducing the risks of the operation.
In case you are considering complementing your healthcare solution with cut-edge services you need to understand how they will come in handy. Implementation of virtual technology might be tricky, so be sure you weighed the pros and cons. Here are some examples of how augmented reality works in healthcare.
Training and education
The life of a medical student is complicated because they need to digest vast amounts of information. Virtual reality is a more efficient way to digest this. And with the help of augmented reality games, a student or intern can conduct virtual surgery without potentially harming a patient. This technology also allows the medical school to avoid cadavers during practical training, which helps avoid the moral and ethical issues involved in this training process.
In-hospital and remote surgery
One of the most useful applications of AR and VR in modern medicine is surgery for the following reasons: Virtual reality can simulate surgery before it is performed to help the surgeon or student think about various scenarios that might occur. Doctors or students can more easily assess risk during a procedure using data from sensors. There are video streaming and patient navigation apps that help doctors control real-life and remote surgeries as well.
Mental health problems treatment
While the above applications of augmented reality in healthcare are fairly obvious, it is also possible to use AR medical technology in order to work with mental disorders. Any disease is an additional reason for concern, which means it can add an extra load to the nervous system. This can complicate treatment plans. With the help of augmented reality, the patient can better understand what is happening and possibly avoid anxiety.
Additionally, virtual reality simulators can work with various phobias. For example, there is a Russian project that helps people fight aerophobia, also known as a fear of flying. One of the stages of treatment is the use of an aeroplane flight simulator to help the patient prepare for it in real life.
It will be easier to assess the state of the whole body if one can visualize data from a variety of sensors and project the result of all the issues on the patient. Using this manner, the doctor can get a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health and make thoughtful decisions.
If one can combine the possibilities of medical diagnosis with the help of AR and its predictive capabilities, it is possible to get data-driven insights and suggestions, as well as predict some less-than-obvious health risks.
Not all people have access to medical services, sometimes because of their physical distance from a hospital or a doctor’s office. Augmented reality applications can be useful for remote counselling in these cases. With its help, it is easier to establish eye-to-eye contact, read emotions, and measure the pulse of a patient. These solutions are already used in India and on American research stations in the Antarctic.
Emergency navigation in hospitals
This is one of the most important applications of augmented reality in nursing. Very often the patient’s life depends on the correct actions of the nurse taking care of them. Augmented reality applications for urgent hospital navigation can help the nurse quickly find the right room or equipment. This augmented reality medical solution is especially useful for young professionals who just graduated from college.
Augmented reality app development is a difficult and expensive process. However, it will pay itself off with the mistakes that can be avoided by doctors, it will save lives, and it will be a more pleasant experience for patients.