Opportunities of AR Technology in Healthcare Delivery

Augmented Reality in Healthcare Delivery
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Augmented Reality in Healthcare Delivery

Opportunities of AR Technology in Healthcare Delivery are endless. Augmented reality applications are among the most exciting and revolutionary technology available today. By utilizing this technology, doctors and patients can make more informed healthcare decisions, thus leading to a better standard of care and an overall better quality of life.

  1. AR technology can help patients to better understand their symptoms and their actual medical state. Most patients often overact to a medical diagnosis or on the contrary, they belittle the problem. EyeDecide is an example of a medical AR app that is used to display the impact of specific conditions on an individual’s vision. The app can also demonstrate the impact of cataract or AMD and thus help patients understand the effects of their symptoms.
  2. AR technology can help make unpleasant experiences such as intravenous injections/blood taking a little bit easier. A widely recognized app known as AccuVein uses AR technology to illuminate the veins on a patient’s skin, helping nurses and doctors locate veins before inserting a needle. With the use of this app, the chances of finding a vein on the first try are 3.5 times more likely.
  3. AR technology can assist and train surgeons to become more precise in their work. By wearing smart glasses, surgeons can stay focused on the task at hand, therefore minimizing risks during surgery. Medsights Tech has already developed a software using augmented reality to create accurate 3D reconstructions of tumors. The idea behind the software is to empower surgeons with x-ray vision and without any radiation exposure.
  4. AR 3D models can help explain to patients how the drugs they take actually work. Such models might be helpful to show drug interactions and explain to patients why it is important not to take specific drugs with the ones they are prescribed or why they should be cautious when consuming alcohol and medication.
  5. AR digital contact lenses can help patients suffering from diabetes, high ocular pressure and even those who have lost their vision. For example, Google has produced digital, multi-sensor contact lenses which are able to measure blood sugar levels within seconds and help patients with high ocular pressure to keep it under control. What’s more, these lenses can also help the blind create outlines around an individual’s face to help with recognition and improve situations with poor contrast.
  6. AR technology allows medical training to become more interactive and immediate. It can help trainee physicians to understand the theory behind surgical procedures, disease pathology and human anatomy. They can implement what they read in textbooks with real world consequences. For instance, AR apps can be used to display anatomical information on a 3D printed human skeleton. This allows students to revise the names of the bones, all the while offering a better understanding of how the human body operates.
  7. AR technology can be used to improve patient education when it comes to effective treatment and prevention. AR apps can be used to better illustrate the impact of particular illnesses through a multi-sensory experience. These apps can also help educate family members on the pathology and consequences of particular illnesses, making their contribution to the well-being of their loved ones more valuable.
  8. AR technology can help patients receive high-quality care. AR allows administrative staff to better manage records and access information as quickly and as efficiently as possible. By using augmented reality, the entire care process is improved by reducing the possibility of human error.
  9. AR technology can save lives by showing defibrillators nearby. An AR app known as AED4EU allows its users to add places where automated external defibrillators are located. The app allows access to this database, thus assisting individuals to find AEDs within minutes and help those in need. In other words, augmented reality brings vital pieces of information to those in need or in danger
  10. AR technology can help new mothers struggling with breasting. Google Glass uses an AR app to help struggling mothers get expert help at any time of the day, without having to put the baby down. Thus, by sharing the patient’s perspective, consultations rise to a new level.
  11. AR technology can help improve the management of a patient’s aftercare. There is a dedicated AR app installed within the smart glasses to act as a digital healthcare assistant and help remind patients when to take their medication. The app can also provide them with information on eating healthy and exercising more often.
  12. AR technology can help monitor and detect particular maladies such as skin cancer early on. High-risk individuals can have worrisome skin lesions and abnormal moles checked regularly and the AR app can help doctors quickly compare results and document any changes over a period of time

Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of augmented reality. Augmented reality is a technology that adds value to the real word by overlaying and displaying real-time digital information and media via camera view or via wearable tech. It allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as improve existing ones in a safe environment. AR offers near real world ways to learn, train for, and apply greater care. The accessibility of this kind of technology can and will make a huge difference to the standard of medical education around the world. It can also save time, reduce overhead costs, improve outcomes and increase patient safety.

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