Healthcare industry embraces immersive technology

by Guy Frum

Patient - specific 360 VR reconstruction of their anatomy & pathology - Healthcare industry embraces immersive technology

When the buzz around immersive technology started, it was as if it would be confined to the world of gaming and entertainment. But today, it has penetrated every sector with different radical improvements and disruptive innovation, not least the health sector.
Especially now post-pandemic, we rely on the healthcare industry to accelerate a rapid technological infusion and adaptation in coming up with efficient solutions.
Immersive technology can transform the healthcare industry in ways we have not experienced before. 
Here are some of them:

Enhanced Analysis and Diagnosis

Let’s engage our imagination for a bit. You’re feeling nauseous, weak, and tired.
None of your home remedies work or googled prescriptions have succeeded in making you feel better.
So you decide to seek expert medical help. On reaching the hospital, you wait your turn to consult with the physician. When it gets to your turn, you somehow narrate your plight and wait in anticipation for a diagnosis.
Then, the doctor lends you a headset and asks you to put it on. As you do, you open your eyes to what seems like the inner anatomy of your body as you observe the unfamiliar scene that is the cause of your sickness.
The doctor explains your condition and demonstrates to you through the video how the prescribed medicine will help your condition.
Doing this, he gives you a diagnosis and the confidence that you will get better. This is a sneak peek at how immersive technology will revolutionize medical analysis and diagnosis. 

Augmented Reality-based Surgery

Using AR in surgical procedures reduces errors, processing time while enhancing the operating experience.
It overlays a digital image of the operating area on a surgeon's view.
Since AR images can portray the blood vessels and nerves with better clarity, this reduces surgical errors and improves the success rate for complex surgeries.
Health Centres across the globe, such as the Maryland Blended Reality Center, have begun using this technology. Using Microsoft’s HoloLens, Magic Leap, VARJO XR3 and Vuzix Blade, etc., surgeons can concurrently see imaging data and other patient information. This can potentially save lives and decrease medical errors. 

Enhanced Training

Immersive Tech is a great way to creatively train medical personnel. Research has shown that medical personnel trained using AR, VR, and MR tech have shown an 80% retention rate even after a year of training.
However, those given traditional training showed only 20% retention just after a week of training. This illustrates how efficient it is to use immersive Tech to train our healthcare professionals; because effective training methods lead to sound medical practices.
At Cassette, for example, a training experience is created to educate healthcare professionals on the suitable actions to take with patients post-CAR-T therapy, an innovative cancer treatment.

Virtual Based Rehab

Studies reveal that patients undergoing rehabilitation usually lose motivation for engaging activities.
Having to go through rehab can be traumatic for anyone. Also, being cut off from the outside world and doing the same tasks daily while going through pain can be hard.
A VR-based rehab allows medical professionals to diagnose both a patient's cognitive and physical aspects. A walk on a treadmill can be designed to offer the same experience as a walk in a park in a VR-based rehab. Such exciting tasks pique and elevate the interest of patients.
It stimulates their brains as well as their bodies. Also, studies have shown that the parts of the human brain linked to pain are less active when a patient is immersed in VR.The possibilities of a healthcare system that embraces technology are truly unlimited.
If the healthcare field responds faster to change, it is only a matter of time before immersive technology is as common as a thermometer.