Immersive technology like Augmented reality holds the power to change the processes in medicine and healthcare industry.
Transformation in Digital health services will change the way patients approach & interact with doctors and the way doctors diagnose, treat, operate or follow up with patients. Augmented reality will increase the time responsiveness of a medical professional while also making them more accurate and effective in their treatment.
What is augmented reality?
Before we discuss the role of augmented reality in healthcare, let’s discuss what augmented reality is. Augmented really literally means something added to your reality. Anything that superimposes additional information, be it in the form of text, image or video on your reality (real surroundings) makes it augmented reality.
Now functional applications of augmented reality in healthcare industry can be numerous. The drawing board is open for ideas, innovation and beyond. But in this article, let’s discuss few areas where we are already seeing some innovation and implementation.
Big data has become an integral part of our life. How data is being collected and then used in applications to improve our lives is just amazing. A medical researcher will be able to better understand an environment or the object of his research. This environment we talk about in medical field could be that of a single cell organism amoeba, bodily environment inside of a human being or the real life environment of a stressful operation theatre.
This scientific understanding with respect to the environment comes not just on how the organism or an individual reacts in a situation or to a certain chemical but also how the environment/outside factors creates an impact on the subject. The already know responses can be augmented on real life situations noting down the outliers and increasing the scope of any different behaviour. With the use of AR in research, It’s a three way complex street of interaction and hence understanding between the object, environment and the observer/researcher.
Assistance to Surgeons and First Responders:
Imagine a situation where there are first responders in an extreme situation and do not know what they will have to deal with. Real time assistance can be provided to the first responders by specialists sitting miles away maybe on how to carry our a certain procedure to stabilise a person. We have facilities to link a persons medical history to their Aadhar or social security number for that matter to know what one is dealing with and can provide fact based accurate treatment in short amount of time.
Let’s take another example of a surgeon in an operation theatre, body scans of the patient can be laid right over their body to know where an incision is to be made or where a certain nerve is. All this information can be augmented right in front of the doctors eye using an AR lens minimising the scope of error or even to save time in critical situations. Forget examples of extreme situations, Imagine a time in future where you walk into a doctors room and all your medical history is augmented over you.
Know your medicines before you take them
Today, all the information about the medicines that one takes is available online. One can go and read how to take the medicines, precautions, side effects or even chemical composition for the more aware ones. But, this information is only available if a person take efforts to actually go and read about it. With augmented reality, one will be able to augment all the information about a particular medicine over the medicine itself. You will be able to view everything in 3D right in front of your eyes. You will be alarmed of precautions to be taken or watch out for the side effects if any. This will go a long way in making the patients much for aware about what medicines they take and their positive and negative effects on the human body.
Health and fitness motivation
Imagine a world, and I mind you, it’s not far away when you will be able to scan the menu of a restaurant or the food on your table and know the amount of calories in it or maybe if I become Ms. Brightside, how consuming that spinach soup can be so nutritious. I am sure soon there will be an AR mobile app with which one can simply look at themselves in mirror and will be able to see exact body areas where they have gained weight!
If you can imagine it in augmented reality, the application can be build. There is immense immense potential on how our lives will change in coming few years as technology companies get deep in R&D of how to make our lives further easier and better using AR. If you have more application ideas or wish to contribute your thoughts, write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall go ahead and share it with the world!