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Augmented reality in healthcareAR integrates digital information with the user’s environment in real time and is becoming more accessible and affordable for medical education and imaging, dentistry, and nurse training. AccuVein, VIPAR, ARnatomy, and VA-ST are among the available AR solutions for health care.
As AR matures and becomes more affordable and user-friendly, more life sciences companies should consider its use as an essential tool to communicate, educate, and engage HCPs and patients on innovations that will improve outcomes.
More life sciences companies are using augmented reality (AR) to bring new therapies to life by combining virtual and physical worlds. AR helps create rich, interactive experiences that show how new drugs and medical devices interact with the body. Using this disruptive technology, brand teams and content providers can give their field force a better way to engage healthcare professionals (HCPs). AR can also allow HCPs to be more illustrative when explaining new treatments to patients.
Whether explaining a disease state, treatment method, or how a new medical device works, AR can significantly enhance customer engagement, improve education on complex topics, and create differentiation with more powerful branding.
An overview and look to the future of how augmented reality (AR) is being widely adopted in the healthcare industry, creating business opportunities for companies with AR expertise.
Augmented reality is the use of displays, cameras, and sensors to overlay digital information onto the real world. In contrast to Virtual reality (VR),which creates an entirely new world, AR allows us to bring the most useful information from the digital realm into our perception of the environment around us. AR is not a new concept, but over the last few years, advances in camera and sensor technology and AR-focused software research have made it practical — we’re still in the early stages of the AR revolution, but this year and into the future, we can expect to see an explosion of AR devices and applications enter the market.
Indeed, healthcare and medical fields will be among the first to embrace AR in a big way. In fact, today there are many nurses and doctors interacting with AR applications every day to improve patient education and outcomes.
Google Glass was the first AR platform to get wide public exposure. However, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t a huge success with consumers, largely because of the high-cost,limited functionality, and perception problems — Google Glass was attractive, but it didn’t look attractive. Beyond the consumer market, Google Glass has found a home in enterprise and in the healthcare field, demonstrating the importance of AR even at that early stage of development.
Many companies are now hard at work laying the foundation of the AR revolution. For example, Microsoft’s Hololens is hugely impressive and is seeing wide adoption throughout industry and the healthcare space.
AR in healthcare
Healthcare workers have been quick to realise the benefits of AR technologies. Education is an obvious application of augmented reality in the healthcare field. Healthcare workers have to learn a huge amount of information about anatomy and the way the body functions. AR applications give learners the ability to visualise and interact with three-dimensional representations of bodies.
However, it’s not only healthcare workers who benefit from augmented reality. It’s also proving hugely useful as a tool for patient education, allowing medical professionals to help patients understand surgical procedures and the way medicines work.
Today, surgeons use several techniques to visualise the area on which they are to operate, but augmented reality, which can project three dimensional representations of the patient’s anatomy into the surgeon’s field of view, is likely to improve accuracy and outcomes for patients.