The idea of Metaverse has captivated the attention of every major tech and media company. The idea of living in virtual reality took hold in people’s minds. The new vision of the future implies that VR and the Metaverse could permeate all areas of life including healthcare.
Here, we will tell you some aspects of the Metaverse which will affect your health and the way we see the future of the health industry.
During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic a mobile app was developed which helped healthcare workers develop skills for more efficient management of Covid-19 patients using virtual reality. VR allowed for simulation of potential situations such as how to wear a PPE kit and how to discard a PPE kit. The app was available in multiple languages.
The technology offered by a company called Oculus is also revolutionizing the way surgeons operate. At the university of Connecticut , the orthopedic surgical residents are taught various procedures using the VR head sets, this allows the surgical students to perfect their skills while using the advantages of a 3D VR environment. Additionally, they had access to a plethora of surgical scenarios at their disposal and they were ready for any orthopedic emergency. Via Metaverse , for example, a group of medical students worldwide having joined the same virtual space, they can go through 3D model of human body and study it layer by layer on specially designed VR modules.
Benefits of Metaverse in healthcare and patient care:
1. Metaverse technology will transform medical training and surgery The Metaverse user immersion aspects are a perfect vehicle to train medical staff, for example, simulation training such as trainees getting an up close view of a surgeon’s procedures enhanced with tactile haptic controls. Also companies like intuitive surgical which is famous for its robot assisted surgery system have amazing potential for moving to virtual reality and many other smaller companies are investing in digital healthcare whether it’s to improve the telemedicine experience through augmented reality or by making other medical experiences more convenient and safe for patient. Surgeons might meet in a virtual operating theater and they can collaborate together in surgery with assistance from other consultants and experts. During the surgery , I can imagine the surgeon can see about the patient’s body his vitals, images, history and can navigate easily among multiple patient data, this would make it more convenient in surgeries and surgeons become more empowered with virtual tools. But there are major challenges that these companies will undoubtedly face and one of these biggest challenges is linking the virtual world to the real world and they will need to go through many clinical trials to see if this technology can be used safely for patient care and how we will be able to use it.
2. Metaverse will transform patient visits and support It is one of the best uses of the Metaverse in healthcare. I can imagine making doctor visits virtually, not all visits require a physical examination by a doctor, sometimes for just consultation. Telemedicine and teleconsultation services are massively growing all over the world, Metaverse will change the old culture of physical visits, we all know that not all medical specialties can perform their visits to telemedicine but it still has a great potential , as a lot of physical visits can be done virtually using modern technology.
3. Transforming family visits to patient through virtualization I expect that we will be able to visit patients without restrictions on physical attendance or visit times, so I can visit my patient friend in a true visit which will give patient a lot of emotional support and make them feel much better. Metaverse is going to augment these visits with a virtual office where patients and physicians can meet in a 3D clinic or any other location.
4. Digital therapeutic applications of the Metaverse The Metaverse is already showing signs of new opportunities in therapeutic applications. Digital therapeutic are seeing rapid adoption of this form of therapy where VR and AR tech in the Metaverse enables applications such as cognitive therapy, support groups, psychiatric evaluations, rehabilitation and with the support of haptic sensors even physical therapy, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic expect digital therapeutics that bridge the gap between the physical and digital with real world results.
Challenges of the Metaverse in healthcare and patient care:
Keep in mind, we are talking about healthcare, a field still in the dark ages in some ways with its fax machines and interoperability challenges so we should expect risk, bureaucracy, and regulations.
Many healthcare leaders remain cautiously optimistic given current privacy and safety concerns which are likely to be enormous challenges in the Metaverse.
One major challenge will be to bridge the virtual world with the real. Numerous clinical trials and use cases will have to be delved into to truly understand if and how this technology can be used safely for patient care.
There is also the issue of high cost of technology. To enable the full potential of the Metaverse and healthcare it requires massive infrastructure to function from uninterrupted 5G to high-tech hardware like glasses, sensors and other variables.
In conclusion, the Metaverse is emerging as an immersive technology with big potential for optimizing patient care across the entire healthcare spectrum.
Never the less, there will be challenges that will motivate stake holders to pay close attention the many new shifting dimensions of the Metaverse.
By anticipating these potential pitfalls, healthcare will create better expectations for this immersive and unprecedented technology.
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Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.
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