Augmented reality in healthcare; benefits, application, challenges

Augmented reality (AR) has played a wonderful role in the healthcare industry. In this blog post, we will unravel some of the advantages of this technology in healthcare.

AR is the use of displays, cameras, and sensors to cover or relay digital information to the real sense of the world.

It allows us to bring the most useful information from the digital scene to our perception of the environment around us.

AR is not a new concept, it has been in existence for a long time but over the last few years, advances in camera and sensor technology and AR-focused software research have made it practical so it’s okay to say we are still in the early stages of the AR revolution, but this year and into the future, we can expect to see an explosion of AR devices and applications enter the market.

Applications of AR in healthcare

Below, you will find how AR can be applied in different health sectors. To understand advanced
augmented healthcare application with full functionalities, focusing on various healthcare practices is very essential;

ApplicationsServices
Eye diagnosis-Identifies the patient’s exact eye diseases: Glaucoma, dry eye – condition, etc.

-Using digital contact lens measures blood sugar levels through multi-sensor for retinal implanted people.

Cardiac treatment-To understand cardiac inner and deeper structure.

-Analyzes the heart condition according to normal, murmur and extra-systolic sound.

-Cardiac data examination, prediction and cardiac arrhythmia treatment.

Cancer Detection-Used to diagnosis breast cancer in sentinel lymph nodes and prostate cancer in prostatectomy specimens.
Brain Tumor Detection-Identifying skin incision, skull craniotomy and tumor location.
Smart physical rehabilitation-Provides inpatients and outpatient rehabilitation facilities for musculoskeletal, neurological, r-hematological and cardiovascular systems.
Surgical procedure-Helps orthopedic surgeon to examine the abnormal joint function.

-Identify skin incision, skull craniotomy and tumor location for Choledochoscopy surgery.

-Prevents damaging tissues, blood vessels and dental nerves during dental surgery. -Identifies the bone structure through 3D computed tomography (CT) data for orthopedic surgery.

-Helps in Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery.

-Used for craniofacial surgery applied in treating orbital hypertelorism, hemifacial microsomia, mandibular angle split osteotomy related abnormalities.

Monitoring and guidelines-Provides exact guidelines about healthy food.

-Provides information about allergic food, low-fat diets, and general caloric intake. -Support for medication plan and medication restrictions.

-Provides feedback on lung conditions and used for the diagnosis of respiratory disease.

-Continuously monitors glucose level, insulin dosages and suggests appropriate foods.

-Helps hearing impaired people for museum visits.

 

Benefits of Augmented reality in healthcare

In recent days, augmented reality has proposed numerous smart applications in the healthcare industry including wearable access, telemedicine, remote surgery, diagnosis of medical reports, emergency medicine, etc.

The aim of the developed augmented healthcare application is to improve patient care, increase efficiency, and decrease costs.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of AR in healthcare.

1. Helping to train healthcare professionals

Medical institutions are beginning to implement AR into their curriculum to provide students with valuable hands-on learning experiences.

With AR in education, it would be easy to simulate patients and surgical encounters for students. AR technologies can allow medical students to visualize and practice theories during their training.

Training and developing the skills and knowledge base of future generations of medical professionals is a significant benefit of the adoption of AR across the healthcare sector.

Students are privileged to get closer to action and understand better, for example by getting better access to the specific patient’s medical records ranging from x-rays, CT scans, and even patients’ consultation and examinations.

AR has made it possible to bridge the physical and informational distance between new and experienced employees and between agents and customers by enabling remote connectivity and ease of sharing contextual data.

2. Assistance tool for surgeons

The ability to access patient data at speed is a major win for the successful adoption of AR in surgical procedures, where every second counts.

Technologies such as Microsoft Hololens are being used by surgeons to assist with and streamline surgical procedures.

Surgeons can get access to real-time, life-saving patient information. They can now use this data during complicated or straightforward procedures. With AR, surgeons can perform accurate and low-risk surgeries, saving time.

Surgeons can use AR to study their patients’ anatomy. They can enter their MRI data, and CT scans into an AR headset. Then, overlay specific patient anatomy on top of their body before going into surgery.

3. Vein Detection

Augmented reality has been adopted by nurses and doctors to improve vein detection. The search for veins can be a Hercules task and can get traumatizing most times.

AR-driven technologies such as Accuvein can be applied to address these issues. This technology uses a combination of a laser-based scanner, processing system, and digital laser projection housed in a portable, handheld device.

This gives practitioners the chance to view a virtual real-time image of the underlying vasculature on the surface of the skin.

4. Patient consultation

By using AR to support patient consultations, patients can now gain more in-depth and informed insights through the use of augmented reality in consultations. more impactful than other forms of visual and textual representation.”

5. Diagnosis

Most patients find it difficult to explain how they feel or what is going on inside their body. with AR, patients will be able to express their symptoms better.

The process will make it easier for doctors to determine their patients’ symptoms and accurately diagnose them. Visually driven technologies such as X-rays and CT scans are commonplace in the healthcare sector.

Put simply, they help medical professionals to see inside people’s bodies to detect, diagnose and treat patients. With the potential to create accurate and realistic 3D images that can be accessed and scrutinized by practitioners via augmented reality hardware such as Microsoft Hololens. This can help to accelerate diagnosis and improve patient care.

6. Virtual customer care

Artificial reality-based solutions can provide policy holders real-time guidance on how to fill out claims forms, resolve billing issues and other service requests, without having to contact insurance agents or a service desk.

7. Facilitates Innovative Drug Information

Augmented reality allows pharmaceutical companies to provide a more efficient way to convey drug information and drug mechanisms.

With AR, a patient can see in three dimensions how a drug interacts with the body. Even the use of AR makes it easier for laboratory staff to keep track of diverse studies.

The Challenges of AR in healthcare

One of the cardinal issues of augmented platforms in healthcare is data security. To ensure data security, the implementation of network connection encryption is essential.

Ensuring a completely encrypted or protected data-transferring environment for healthcare applications is difficult but adequately needed.

Another raging challenge is the development and implementation cost of the AR healthcare device. Due to the high development cost, several healthcare providers disagree to reconstruct their healthcare platform.

Also, a high range of implementation costs raises the barrier to introducing modern and digital technology into healthcare solutions.

To launch a specialized platform that refers to applications package interface (APIs), framework, and appropriate libraries can be considered as another top challenge of augmented reality in healthcare.

Conclusion

Augmented reality is used in healthcare facilities across the world today, for applications that include vein visualization, surgical visualization and education.

With the use of Augmented Reality there are fewer errors due to misreading and/or misinterpreting of data and an increase in productivity.

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