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How can Augmented Reality help Healthcare?

June 22, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the newest innovations gaining popularity and use in various markets such as gaming, automotive, retail, and many more. Augmented reality is now making its impact in the Healthcare industry as well. Augmented reality is one of the most growing digital health technologies today. Want to know how it can help healthcare? Keep on reading this blog.

Of all the various technologies now being used in the healthcare sector, Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the most interesting. The capability to seamlessly blend the direct sensory experience of the real world with all the energy and power of digital information technology is ground-breaking. In healthcare, analysts predict the global AR market to grow at a sizable 23 percent compound annual rate from 2017 to 2023. Already, AR is used in areas such as patient and doctor education, surgical visualization, and disease simulation to enhance patient treatments and outcomes.

Put it this way. We all understand how valuable digital resources have become, unexpectedly in the internet age, for looking up resources, guidance, and help us with our work. Imagine we are working and need some useful information. Without having to break from our work and having to lookup for that information with a laptop or tablet, wouldn't it be great if that information was in our field of vision or ears as we are working?

Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals are discovering the advantages of augmented reality in many ways to help them with their work. Healthcare education is one area where augmented reality can play a useful role. Healthcare professionals have to acquire a significant amount of details about anatomy and the process of body functions. AR applications can help by providing three-dimensional illustrations of bodies. A practical application of augmented reality, which is in use at present, is vein visualization. Many patients are uncomfortable with being injected or having blood taken. The experience is much worse when it's difficult to find a vein and the patient has to be "stuck" several times.

Here are some ways how augmented reality is finding its use in healthcare today:

  • Improved access to vital information

    AR provides surgeons with patient monitoring data in a consolidated display and allows patient imaging records, including functional videos, to be accessed and overlaid. Examples include:

    • A virtual X-ray view based on prior tomography.
    • Real-time images from ultrasound and confocal microscopy probes.
    • Visualizing the position of a tumor in the video of an endoscope.
    • Radiation exposure risks from X-ray imaging devices.
  • Boosting training

    One of the first applications of Augmented Reality in healthcare was to support the planning, practice, and training of surgical procedures.

  • Pharmaceuticals

    Pharmaceutical firms can give more innovative drug information using augmented reality.

  • Vein Visualization

    An augmented reality device, called a near-infrared vein finder, films subcutaneous veins, processes, and projects the image of the veins onto the skin and has been used to locate veins.

  • Neurosurgery

    Recently, augmented reality has begun seeing adoption in neurosurgery, a field that requires heavy amounts of imaging before procedures.

  • Augmented reality-assisted surgery (ARAS)

    Augmented reality-assisted surgery (ARAS) is a surgical tool utilizing technology that superimposes a computer-generated on a surgeon's view of the operative field, thus providing a composite view for the surgeon of the patient with a computer-generated overlay enhancing the operative experience.

Augmented Reality helps create rich, interactive experiences that show how new drugs and medical devices interact with the body. Augmented reality is used in healthcare facilities over the world today, for utilization that requires vein visualization, medical visualization, and training. Forward-thinking healthcare providers are evaluating the possible advantages of AR for delivering improved patient care.

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