by Ramalingeswara (Ram) Lao Bala
Until very recently, medicine required physical interaction between patients and clinicians. Over the years, the healthcare industry has evolved by leaps and bounds through cutting-edge innovations such as telemedicine, virtual reality (VR)-enabled medical education, and robotic surgery.
Technology will continue to help medicine break new ground, and the Metaverse will play a key role in that transformation. By leveraging virtual reality, augmented reality and other immersive technologies, the Metaverse may offer an unparalleled opportunity to revolutionize healthcare. This includes better care delivery, improved telemedicine, enhanced patient experience, immersive medical training, and more.
If our predictions are correct, the metaverse and its surrounding industries will boom in the coming years. According to a December 2021 Bloomberg Intelligence report, the metaverse technology market could reach $800 billion by 2024 and $2.5 trillion by 2030. This will transform the future of virtual reality technology and, by extension, healthcare.
One of the most important ways the Metaverse will benefit healthcare is through “virtual clinics” where patients and doctors interact through digital avatars, where distance is no longer an issue and language barriers are no longer an issue. does not exist. On the one hand, VR allows patients to immerse themselves in virtual hospitals, clinics and treatment environments, increasing their familiarity and reducing the anxiety associated with medical practice.
Clinicians around the world can explore 3D models of patient conditions to make informed diagnoses. So if you are in Europe and have a doctor in India who is best suited for your symptoms, you can be in the same room just by putting on your headset. This can be very helpful in places where there is a severe shortage of medical professionals, or for very rare diseases, where there are only a few experts in the field.
Another beneficial aspect is that clinicians can use gamified tools to analyze complex patient diagnoses and gain greater control and visibility of patient responses to medications. The Metaverse also enables surgeons to visualize and simulate surgical procedures prior to complex surgeries to reduce the risk of failure.
Additionally, AR can enhance the patient experience by overlaying real-time information onto the physical world. The technology facilitates seamless interactions between patients, caregivers, and physicians, enabling real-time monitoring of vital signs, medication adherence, and medical management tutoring during self-care procedures.
Metaverse operations rely on extensive infrastructure, from stable 6G connectivity to advanced hardware such as glasses, sensors and other wearable devices. Because of this, patients may need to obtain specific equipment for their prescribed treatment. But it is questionable whether insurance groups will pay for these costs.
Additionally, currently users can use VR goggles and gloves to control the avatar. But when it comes to patient care, you need a more sophisticated, less obtrusive tool. Currently, AR, VR, and MR devices are not lightweight, portable, or affordable, hindering widespread adoption of the Metaverse. Beyond hardware accessibility, the technology itself needs further development to achieve the display quality and pixel density required for realistic virtual experiences.
The integration of various technologies promises great opportunities in healthcare for both patients and companies, but what remains to be seen is whether this integration will be cost-effective and compliant with existing regulations. To ensure the best possible experience for all users, we must also focus on security, enhancing accuracy, and preserving privacy.
The metaverse will continue. And while it may seem like an unimaginable concept at the moment, it’s sure to evolve into an extension of our physical world as well as having some new problems. Therefore, it may not be long before a clinician can imagine a future where he can greet patients inside his 3D clinic and examine digital avatars from anywhere in the world.
Ramalingeswara (Ram) Rao Balla, Senior Consultant – Enterprise Growth Group, TCS
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