The Immersive Healthcare Of The Future: 5 Ways It Will Alter Patient Experience

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    There is no denying that healthcare services around the world are under intense pressure. Especially since the pandemic, waiting times can be long, access to certain services can be limited, and depending on where you are in the world, medical bills can be expensive. Metaverse technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and digital twins do more than just improve patient outcomes. It could significantly improve access to health services.

    Let’s take a look at five ways the metaverse could change healthcare for the better.

    1. Improved remote booking

    Many of us have had a phone or video consultation with a doctor or other healthcare professional in the last few years. Imagine putting on a VR headset and enjoying a more immersive telemedicine experience, such as annual health checkups, reviewing test results, or diagnosing minor visually diagnosable symptoms. VR enables a deeper level of immersion, giving both you and the practitioner a better sense of being “there” together. Much more effective than a phone or video consultation.

    Obviously this is not suitable for all kinds of appointments. But for the average GP, minor complaints and routine visits probably make up the bulk of their visits, and these are exactly the kinds of appointments that can be effectively done remotely. Especially given that today’s wearable devices like the Apple Watch can collect so much data about our bodies, including heart rate, sleep data, and physical activity. In the future, we believe that a system that can seamlessly share this data with doctors and provide more appropriate information through telemedicine will be realized.

    2. Visit Metaverse Hospital

    This idea of ​​VR care could be taken a step further by having a virtual hospital in the Metaverse, a virtual clinic accessed via a headset and visited by patients for remote appointments. This kind of environment is also suitable for mental health treatments and possibly physical therapy (which uses cameras to monitor a patient’s range of motion in the physical world).

    In areas of the world where medical professionals are in short supply, or in rural areas where people have to travel long distances to get medical care, virtual clinics have the potential to transform healthcare.

    3. Have your own digital twin

    Digital twin technology allows you to create digital simulations of real-world objects such as machines, components, and even entire cities. But what about a digital twin of the human body? This is an idea experts are already working on. Scientists have used digital twins to mimic heart cells to determine if surgery is necessary or too dangerous for certain patients. Elsewhere, the EU-funded Neurotwin project is working to design a digital twin of an individual’s entire brain. The plan is to use virtual models to enhance treatments for neurological disorders such as epilepsy.

    We don’t yet have a digital twin of the entire human body. But if the technology gets that far, medical professionals will be able to use digital twins as patient “test dummies.” With your own personal digital twin, your healthcare provider can create a highly accurate digital representation of your body down to the cellular level. And this could potentially be used to predict all sorts of outcomes, such as response to certain drugs or recovery from illness. In other words, we each have our own digital twin, enabling medical professionals to run tests on virtual versions of themselves, predict health conditions, and design highly personalized treatment and rehabilitation plans. can do. A healthcare provider may also “age” the digital twin by, say, 10 years or more to see how current interventions will affect him in the future. How wonderful is that?

    4. Improving surgery

    Metaverse technology allowed us to watch surgeons from different parts of the world come together to rehearse and perform complex surgeries in virtual space. This is already happening to some extent. In one example, a surgeon in Lisbon, Portugal, was performing breast cancer surgery in an operating room under the guidance of a Spanish doctor 900 kilometers away. With the help of mixed reality goggles, it was as if the remotely supervising surgeon was in the same room. This may allow better supervision and guidance for newly qualified surgeons.

    Immersive technology can also help patients relax before or during surgery. That was the idea behind the pilot study at St George’s Hospital in London. A patient undergoing surgery under local anesthesia was given the option to use her VR headset before and during surgery. Patients using this technology, immersed in a calming virtual landscape, have found it to be incredibly effective.Surprisingly, 100% of participants said they were wearing headsets. Improved hospital experience94% said they felt more relaxed and 80% reported less pain.

    5. Access to immersive therapy

    VR is already establishing itself as a useful tool in mental health treatment, with the American Psychological Association Reported on VR “Particularly suitable for exposure therapy.” This gave birth to Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), which is (now) primarily used to treat his PTSD and anxiety disorders.

    VRET uses VR to expose patients to scenarios that can trigger anxiety and PTSD symptoms within a controlled and safe environment. The goal is to help patients face their triggers, process the resulting emotions, and engage more deeply with treatment. The obvious advantage for clinicians is that VRET allows them to control every aspect of patient exposure while simulating discrete scenarios that would otherwise be difficult to reproduce. Patients, on the other hand, may feel more in control than they would if they tried to confront the trigger in the real world. Plus, you can continue treatment at your own pace at home. VRET indicates: Reduce symptoms of depression and PTSD It has been used in military sexual trauma cases. treat various phobiasfear of flying, fear of heights, arachnophobia, etc.

    In short, immersive metaverse technology could help improve patient outcomes, increase access to healthcare around the world, and reduce the burden on struggling healthcare services. We look forward to seeing how these innovations unfold.


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