Augmented reality and virtual reality are shaping the future of the healthcare industry. Today, these tech innovations are being used as emerging solutions in the improvement of medical training. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers require rigorous medical training and typically, this training involves dealing with cadavers, mannequins, and patients. With the use of AR/VR in the healthcare market, medical workers don’t have to wait for sick patients all the time anymore since they can learn through this immersive technology that replicates real-life scenarios.
Augmented reality and virtual reality development have come so far that medical institutions around the world have started to use them for medical education. Here are the various ways that AR and VR are revolutionizing medical training.
With AR/VR, medical students don’t need to rely on cadavers to explore the human body anymore. Through these tech innovations, medical training can be fun, engaging, and spectacularly immersive.
In a partnership with Microsoft, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic released the app called HoloAnatomy. Using a HoloLens headset, the app users can see the anatomy of a human body, from its muscles down to its tiniest veins using a 3D holographic model.
Traditionally, medical students use cadavers in the simulation of a living patient. But aside from the fact that cadavers aren’t sustainable and reusable, they incur a huge cost too, on top of other medical equipment.
With AR/VR, students can infinitely study and experiment with an interactive virtual replica of a life-sized human body.
When it comes to surgical training, medical students primarily learn in a classroom setting and don’t get to experience real-life surgical procedures until the start of their clinical rotation. With AR/VR, students can experience an immersive surgical training before they start their residency.
Augmedics is a Chicago-based company that have already started to leverage the use of AR/VR in the healthcare market through their product XVision. Xvision is an AR-based system that surgeons can use to see their patient’s anatomy as if they had “x-ray vision”, which helps them to accurately navigate instruments and implants.
AR/VR in the healthcare market provides a whole new slew of experiences, and that also includes the treatment of trauma. Virtually Better has already started this movement by creating virtual environments to treat anxiety disorders, PTSD, phobias, and addictions among many others.
According to Stanford Medicine, an emergency physician typically gets interrupted on an average of six minutes while examining a patient. These interruptions can cause the likelihood of errors, which is why it’s important for medicine residents to practice multitasking in the fast-paced and highly disruptive environment of emergency rooms.
This scenario can be easily replicated in the immersive and interactive world of virtual reality. VR-based education, which is now being used in the Stanford Medical School, can help medical students train better in this 360 virtual reality experience which was also developed by their renowned doctors.
With the help of AR/VR, pharmacists can understand drug information better which helps in drug design and discovery. Through AR/VR education, pharmacists and medical students alike can now see how the drug works in the body in front of their eyes. By creating simulations from experimental knowledge, AR/VR can guide the design of new drug treatments.
Doctors and other healthcare workers need to know how to perform medical procedures flawlessly and quickly. This mastery requires a lot of practice because when proper training is not done, patient safety is put at risk.
UK-based company Medical Realities is one of the medical tech institutions that have started using AR/VR technology for education, training, and assessment of medical students and practicing doctors. Their latest product is the Objective Structured Clinical Exams (OCEs) that can be learned (including its procedural steps) through their VR app.
Medical students can easily diagnose a patient if they can assess the patient’s state with the aid of augmented reality and sensors. The same case applies too with preoperative planning. With the aid of AR/VR, surgeons can clearly plan out surgical approaches with realistic predictions of their outcome.
Medical conferences play an important role in helping healthcare workers exchange innovative information and stay on top of the current trends and studies in the medical industry. These conferences last for days and the hour-long presentations can be tedious but with virtual reality, they can be engaging too. Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health research at CedarSinai, in fact, has once given a complete medical lecture done in VR.
AR/VR-assisted education doesn’t usually require a handful of heavy equipment. These can be accessed through an app through your mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and these devices are very lightweight. VR simulations are very accessible too and can be reused and accessed by medical students anywhere they are.
AR/VR in the healthcare market is already providing doctors, medical institutions, and other healthcare providers various opportunities to train more efficiently at an affordable rate. As this technology continues to develop, we can only expect that these innovations will continue to reshape what’s possible in the medical field as the possibilities are diverse and endless.