Augmented Reality in Healthcare: Seeing the Future (Now)
Imagine a world where your doctor can see inside your body without cutting you open, where surgeons can plan and practice complex procedures before performing them on real patients, and where medical students can get an immersive, hands-on education without ever having to set foot in a hospital. This isn’t the stuff of science fiction—it’s the potential reality of augmented reality (AR) in healthcare, and it’s being utilized today.
What is augmented reality and how does it help the healthcare industry?
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes computer-generated images on top of real-world objects, providing an enhanced view of the world around us. This is different from a virtual reality experience and virtual objects.
AR has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by giving doctors and nurses quick access to critical patient data, medical imaging, instructions for procedures, and other clinically relevant information.
AR has already been used in several industries, including gaming, manufacturing, and retail. And while its use cases in healthcare are still relatively nascent, the technology is here and there is tremendous potential for AR to revolutionize the way we provide and consume healthcare services.
The use of AR technology is demonstrated in the following video of medical professionals wearing the Microsoft HoloLens goggles headset and seeing the overlay of images on the display during real-life surgery:
The benefits of using AR in healthcare
There are many potential benefits of using augmented reality in healthcare, including:
– Improved patient care: AR has the potential to provide nurses and doctors with real-time access to critical patient data and information, as well as guidance and instructions for procedures. This can help to improve the quality of care that patients receive.
Additionally, AR can be used to provide step-by-step instructions for procedures, making it easier for medical staff to provide high-quality care.
– Increased efficiency: AR has the potential to increase efficiency in the healthcare industry by decreasing the need for repetitive tasks and freeing up time for medical staff to focus on more important tasks.
Being able to take first-hand notes, record calls, and more would be extremely helpful using AR technology than waiting on others to do the tasks or trying to find time later.
– Improved communication: AR can be used to improve communication between medical staff members by providing a shared view of data and information. This can help to reduce errors and improve the coordination of care.
– Easier education: One of the most promising applications of AR in healthcare is in medical education training.
VR and AR simulations offer a safe environment for medical students to learn and make mistakes without putting actual patients at risk. This could not only improve outcomes by ensuring that residents are better prepared before they begin caring for patients on their own.
Augmented Reality Will Make Healthcare More Engaging
AR has the potential to make healthcare more engaging for both providers and patients seeking empowerment over their care. For example, imagine being able to see a 3D model of your heart beating inside your chest or watching a real-time simulation of what would happen to your body if you smoked a cigarette.
These immersive experiences could have a profound impact on patient engagement and motivation, especially when it comes to preventive care.
Similarly, AR could also be used by doctors and nurses to provide more engaging and interactive presentations during rounds or conferences. Rather than simply showing static images on a screen, providers could use AR to provide an immersive experience that enhances understanding and retention.
Augmented Reality Will Make Healthcare More Affordable
One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare today is increasing costs.
Augmented reality has the potential to make healthcare more affordable by reducing the need for expensive resources like cadavers, mannequins, and x-ray machines.
In addition, AR simulations could shorten hospital stays by allowing patients to recover from procedures faster or even avoid surgery altogether by getting treated using less invasive methods like therapeutic ultrasound administered via AR headset.
The result would not only lower costs for individual patients but also reduce strain on our already overburdened healthcare system as a whole.
The costs of augmented reality are reasonable and predicted to decrease rapidly as the technology improves and becomes more mainstream in the coming years.
Where Augmented Reality is used?
As healthcare systems continue to invest in healthcare automation, augmented reality has found its way into a few hospitals and clinics around the world.
Case studies of how AR has been successfully implemented in hospitals and clinics to improve patient care and increase efficiency. Some examples of how AR is being used in healthcare include:
– At the University Hospital Zurich, augmented reality is being used to provide doctors with real-time access to patient data during procedures.
– At Stanford Children’s Health, augmented reality is being used to provide guidance and instructions for pediatric procedures.
– At the Mayo Clinic, augmented reality is being used to improve communication between medical staff members and to provide patients with information about their care.
The Future of Augmented Reality in Healthcare
The potential uses for augmented reality in healthcare are endless. As technology continues to evolve and move to the next generation of healthcare, we will likely see even more augmented reality applications in the healthcare industry.
Some of the ways augmented reality could be used in the future include:
– Providing real-time guidance for medical procedures
– Enhancing communication between medical staff members
– Allowing patients to virtually tour hospitals and clinics before their appointments or surgeries
– Can be connected to the Telehealth experience
– Helping doctors and nurses plan and perform surgeries
– Offering immersive educational experiences for
In the exploding field of digital health, augmented reality is poised to make a huge impact on healthcare professionals. This technology has the potential to revolutionize how we provide and receive health care.
The possibilities for augmented reality in healthcare are endless—and we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface of what this technology can do.
From improving efficiency and effectiveness to enhancing engagement and affordability, AR has the potential to transform every aspect of how we provide and consume healthcare services. As technology continues to evolve, there’s no telling what other exciting innovations we’ll see in the years ahead!