Augmented and Virtual Reality in Healthcare

Tools for providing better care

From Telemedicine to PHRs to EMRs to mHealth, technology has for long been at forefront of providing better healthcare services to patients. From digitization to mobile revolution, healthcare industry has seen it all. The world is slowly moving from mobile to wearable devices thanks to disruptive technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality(AR) that have been cutting across various industries retail to manufacturing to healthcare. Withapplications and products like Pokémon GO and Google Glass, millions across the world know or are aware of these buzzwords Virtual and Augmented reality. These technologies seemingly have the potential to change the healthcare industry in day-today medical practice.

Interestingly VR and AR have been in use in healthcare for years. Now the enhanced versions of technologies signal a new way of working.These refined technologies are widely adopted for a revolutionised care.

AR is a technology that adds value to the real world by overlaying and displaying real-time digital information and media, such as videos and 3D models, via the camera view of your smartphone, tablet, PC or via wearable tech such as a viewfinder or smart glass. VRaids in surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training.VR and AR technologies show new possibilities for indepth physician training; allow patients with pain management and rehabilitation programs. SIM-K and Virtual Interactive Presence and Augmented Reality (VIPAAR), among others, are products developed on the platforms of VR and AR respectively. Developed by clinicians at the University of Montreal, SIM-K is a simulator that teaches doctors how to perform complex knee replacements. The system incorporates a screen as well as haptic sensors that mimic the buzzing of saws and drills. VIPAAR is an augmented reality technology developed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and uses Google Glass to superimpose a real-time projection of the mentor’s hands into the surgeon’s field of sight—from across the hall or around the world.

Skip Rizzo, director of medical virtual reality at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, believes both technologies create an environment well-suited for immersion or exposure-based therapy to treat fear and anxiety. According to IDC estimates, augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market is expected to grow from US$5.2 billion in 2016 to around US$162 billion in 2020, accounting for a CAGR of 181.3 per cent. These technologies are expected to play a key role in providing better healthcare, but the overall success will depend on realising the larger goal of improving care with reduced spending.

In this issue of Asian Hospital & Healthcare Management, you can find the articles—by Michelle R. Troseth, Chief Professional Practice Officer, Elsevier Clinical Solutions, USA; Sanjay Joshi, CTO - Healthcare and Life Sciences, Emerging Technologies Division, Dell EMC and others—related to latest technologies helping the industry in improving the outcomes.

-- Issue 34 --

Prasanthi Potluri

Prasanthi Potluri