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 Revolutionize HealthCare, 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.
One of the best usages of AR is in the field of healthcare due to its distinctive features. Instead of visualization, using displays and sensors one can see what goes inside the human body. AR can help in patient education where doctors can explain surgical procedures easily. Google glass that uses AR was first used in an operation by Dr. Rafael Grossman. Augmented reality will be a boon to medical professionals as well as for future research & education purposes.
Application of Augmented Reality in Healthcare
Benefit for the Patient – Most of the time patients are unable to explain their symptoms properly to the doctor. They are unsure about their actual health condition in the present and the future. With augmented reality, patients are in a better position to address their concerns. They can use the AR app to check their symptoms and their real state of health. Also, the doctors will be able to show them the effects of the present lifestyle and persuade patients to bring in positive changes. The patients need not read the long list of drug descriptions of prescribed medicine. With the 3D AR technology, they can see how the drug works within their body.
Consultation using AR – Motherhood is a tiring and testing time for a new mother. During the initial day’s breastfeeding, mothers find it difficult to feed her child properly due to various reasons. A company based out of Melbourne conducted a Google glass test in association with the Australian breastfeeding association. The mothers were able to share their perspectives with experts and were able to find solutions to their problems while breastfeeding. This could happen only due to the AR-enabled technology of Google glass. The problem can be shared in real-time and the issues can be resolved at the earliest.
Life-saving information – Augmented reality helps to store crucial life-saving information on apps. For example, Radboud University of Netherlands created an AED4EU AR-driven app for the phone. One can easily download it and use it with the Layar browser. This app can tell you the exact location of automated external defibrillators. During an emergency, one can have access to such an extremely life-saving piece of information.
Benefits for nurses & surgeons – It is tough to find a vein to draw blood from the hand or to inject intravenous shots. With the usage of AR hand-held scanner technology, the nurse can see the vein and draw blood or give the shot. The patients are relieved to have found the vein in the first attempt itself. It saves time and ensures the elderly or children need not face undue duress while taking a shot.
Surgeons can depend upon 3D AR and can operate with precision. The success rates of many complex surgeries will increase. Unnecessary risks can be avoided. They can use image reconstruction technology to reconstruct any tumor. This will give an x-ray view to doctors in real-time and they will be able to locate the tumor in any part of the body to operate on. The level of difficulty and risk is lessened to a great extent using AR.
Motivate people – To be in good health is the need of the hour. But at times we take health for granted. We either give-up exercising or maintain a good lifestyle. AR helps to show the present state of health of the body, motivating people to change their present lifestyle. Using AR we can make boring activities like a run or walk more pleasurable. There are certain AR apps available, for instance, the Zombie run that helps you to run daily by converting your daily run task to a game format. All this ensures people take steps towards better health.
Benefits for the pharmaceutical company & researchers – Researchers can use augmented reality tools to check and monitor the result of their ongoing experiments in healthcare. In the pharma company, the workers can have access to AR apps and understand the functionality of various devices. The requirement of on-the-job training can be done away with. This would save time and money usually spent on imparting training.
Education & Training – Medical students can have access to the human body in 3D AR. This makes learning not only interesting but also brings in more clarity. They can see the muscles, veins, and tissues in the holographic model using AR-based apps.
- Augmented Reality to Revolutionize HealthCare – https://healthmanagement.org/c/healthmanagement/issuearticle/the-future-of-augmented-reality-in-healthcare
- Application of Augmented Reality in Healthcare – https://aventior.com/blogs/the-future-of-augmented-reality-in-healthcare/