The last two years have changed the digital transformation trajectory of various industries, more so for industries that have seen high demand due to the COVID crisis such as healthcare, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, etc. Engagement and customer experience remained two crucial parameters during the pandemic, however, due to the restriction of movement and access, the technological and digital ecosystem had to act as a proxy and fill this huge void in health space. This is where the role of virtualization and technological disruptions such as extended reality and augmented reality have played a huge role in providing an almost real-world experience to end customers.
According to a recent report by IBEF, the healthcare industry in India is expected to reach USD 372 by the end of FY 2022. This is a huge growth potential to explore and encourage the use of innovative tools and the latest technologies. The use of augmented reality, virtual reality, and emergencies is in its infancy in India, including in healthcare. However, taking inspiration from global markets, tools like ER & AR have huge potential and still have a long way to go in markets like ours.
Extended Reality (XR) tools are deployed today in personal care (telemedicine tools), surgical procedures and implementations, and various other aspects of user experience are impacted by this ecosystem.
Some of the trends and highlights of how XR, along with robotics, IoT, AI, and ML, are shaping new era medical and healthcare ecosystems are:
- XR takes huge leaps and bounds in learning and development: Built-in tools for extended reality technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality provide an unparalleled learning experience for prospective medical students, doctors, laboratory assistants, etc. Today, universities are using augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance the learning experience. (LE) with the use of anatomical holographs. These allow students to learn about the composition of the human body by seeing and interacting with a 3D model superimposed on the real world. Besides, research suggests that immersive technologies can produce better knowledge retention compared to tablets or computer screens.
- XR acts as a precision tool during complicated operations and procedures: Many hospitals around the world have recognized the value of XR tools and have implemented them seamlessly for the development of high-precision operations and procedures . Recently, this technology has been used in reconstructive procedures. Specifically, Dr Dimitri Amiras of the Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust used this technology to ensure accuracy during a leg reconstruction operation. Dr. Amiras described how his team generated a 3D model of their patient’s leg from an imaging scan that showed them the patient’s veins and arteries and guided the operation.
- XR has shown enormous potential to improve general well-being: technological disruptions and innovations such as Wearables, AI coupled with XR today focus on simulating real experiences for customers and creating environments focused on stimulating mental and physical growth. For example, a plethora of meditation apps have sprung up to help people meditate and relax, often using relaxing sounds and guided instructions. Now, some of these solutions integrate virtual reality to make guided meditations more immersive.
- Robotics is transforming healthcare through computer vision and AI-enabled data analytics: robots are increasingly being used to support healthcare staff and improve patient care in a variety of situations, including operating rooms and clinical environments. As a result, robots focused on human treatment, such as surgical and rehabilitation robots, have emerged. Assistive and therapeutic robotic devices are also rapidly gaining popularity. These include robots that help in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from serious illnesses such as strokes, as well as empathic robots that help in the care of the elderly and the physically/mentally handicapped. Sterilizing rooms and transporting medical supplies and equipment, including medicines, are just some of the tasks performed by industrial robots. It has become apparent that the operational savings and risk reduction of healthcare robotics offer benefits in various areas.
- The IoT is redefining the device space and patient interaction: Connected medical devices enhance the patient experience with simple monitoring and reporting capabilities at the next level. Patients have access to personalized attention through wearable gadgets such as fitness bracelets and other wirelessly connected devices such as blood pressure and heart rate monitoring armbands, glucometers, etc. Doctors can better monitor their patients’ health by using wearables and other IoT-enabled home monitoring kits. Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, oxygen pumps, nebulizers and others are tracked in real time using IoT devices with sensors. Smartwatches allow users to receive streaming health data without the aid of additional hardware.
- AI and ML are changing the medical device landscape: Medical device manufacturers are integrating AI and ML technologies into their products to help healthcare providers and improve patient care. One of the most important benefits of AI/ML in software is its ability to learn from real-world usage and experience, as well as its potential for improving performance. While medical devices are essential for patient care as they directly impact human life by providing vital data and opinions derived from their use, software issues can lead to several risks to medical devices and well-being. to be patient. Insufficient software testing can result in the breach of confidential patient health information, thereby failing to comply with various health regulations. Medical device testing involves ensuring that product software and devices are fully compatible and compliant with multiple regulations and features.
To sum up, the reach and potential of XR is quite huge, especially in the healthcare and medical sectors. However, the industry is still in its infancy, and for this technology to evolve and grow, many aspects of other technologies need to be streamlined on the same page. Combining XR and AR with other technological innovations such as wearable devices, AI, data analytics is a huge game-changer and will shape the next decade of digital health for the country as well as the world. Digital insurance capabilities must be scaled to meet the needs of businesses working in the areas of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), AI-assisted robotic surgeries, AR, VR and XR embedded high-precision camera technologies . These companies and their products, when supported by precision-centric digital insurance capabilities, will provide safer, better, and increased coverage of human life. It can even help leading medtech and IoMT companies bring FDA compliant disruptive medtech devices and applications to the US and also compliant with other global medtech and medical industry standards. health which are very strict to respect.
Sairam Vedam, CMO Cigniti Technologies
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily endorse them. ETHealthworld.com shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)