Due to some impressive advancements in the digital sphere, immersive technologies have recently received considerable attention. Additionally, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two of the most widely used emerging technologies. Many people believe that the use of these technologies is exclusive to the gaming and entertainment industries. The usage of immersive technology for patients is rising as we go toward extended reality (XR), as things are changing. Intriguingly, extended reality in the medical field has already started to reach its full potential.
Research projects that the worldwide XR healthcare market value will reach $16.2 billion by 2027 due to the increased implementation of XR technology for medical training. XR may also aid physicians’ better visualization and analysis of medical data. Additionally, XR can be used to reassure and relax patients before therapy. This article will go through some of the fascinating XR applications in the medical field.
What is Extended Reality?
What if you could virtually investigate human anatomy? Imagine a life-size 3D model suddenly appearing in front of you, allowing you to access it and communicate with it with ease. Creating virtual experiences is precisely what XR does. A scientific visualization tool called XR can conduct experiments in regions that are challenging to study in the actual world. As interesting as it may sound, XR encompasses a variety of experiences that mix the real and virtual worlds, often making it impossible to state them apart.
Utilizing technology that is controlled by speech, gestures, or eye motions is a part of XR experiences. In a nutshell, XR is a buzzword for the technologies of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).
Potential of XR in the medical field
In particular, for contemporary healthcare organizations, the use of XR in healthcare is creating new chances for medical professionals and is consistently booming. By reducing the time needed for surgeons to find pertinent information for making crucial decisions, XR solutions have the potential to help them in the operating room. Training new doctors and giving them a greater grasp of patients’ diseases or illnesses are a few of the key applications of XR in healthcare.
Now let’s have a quick look at how XR in healthcare is utilized:
1. To assist in better understanding the patient’s condition and pain relief
XR may lessen a patient’s pain by distracting them from their therapy by submerging them in an experience. For instance, students at a Canadian university created a virtual reality game to occupy cancer patients during treatment and thereby take their minds off their suffering.
By giving them opportunities to experience what their patients go through, doctors and other healthcare professionals would be better able to sympathize with their patients. In the doctor-patient therapeutic interaction, this can dramatically increase interpersonal trust.
2. To construct a surgical simulator to use in training healthcare providers
Additionally, immersive technology may make it possible for medical professionals to practice surgery. For the aim of training medical professionals, extended reality can be used to build a surgical simulator. A patient, cadaver, or animal is not as frequently required while using a surgical simulator.
3. To prepare the surgeons before surgery
The possibilities in healthcare with XR are limitless. Several uses for surgical training and planning are listed below:
In order to help surgeons learn surgical techniques and work with their team, 3D models will be created using patient images. Additionally, an XR immersive headset may be utilized to demonstrate the cut, sketch, and measurement tools and create a practical operating process.
Additionally, a platform built on XR that is immersive, interactive, and allows for collaboration between different surgeons can be developed for healthcare practitioners.
Simulation-based applications may also be created for surgeons to train and hone their abilities.
The surgeon can experience the sensation of using real instruments by using an XR program that incorporates realistic vibration patterns. When paired with the capabilities of VR, such an immersive application may serve as a lifelike platform to analyze operations.
4. To conduct educational training for medical students
The extended reality in medical education plays a crucial role in training and teaching. XR-based apps created for educational purposes help doctors as well as medical students to observe intricate details which are anatomically accurate models of a human body. This allows them to learn about different systems and practice their surgical skills.
5. To determine a patient’s health conditions
What if medical professionals could scan a patient’s physique and immediately identify any health issues? As fascinating as that may sound, it is currently feasible, thanks to an XR application. To identify patient ailments, a collection of immersive technologies may be used with 3D models. These apps may also be used to identify certain health issues, such as cancers, fractured bones, and others. Additionally, patients may be shown a step-by-step procedure for their future surgery using photographs from the program.
There is no doubt that extended reality technology is giving healthcare businesses a lot of opportunities. Healthcare service providers—from producers of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to hospital networks and insurers—seek methods to influence the direction of the healthcare sector.