Augmented reality is one of the biggest technological revolutions of the past decade. This application opened up some fantastic opportunities in the healthcare industry by means of surgery, training and diagnosis.
The global market value has been on the incline since the conception of AR and by 2020, the global value is estimated at $1.5B. New innovative applications and uses for this technology include accuracy of surgery, faster research and information available that could potentially save lives.
Medicine practice has been projected into the future with the use of AR for educational purposes, as a practising nurse or doctor can learn about new and important practices and methods via AR, as different medical scenarios are presented to them.
AR is potentially one of the most groundbreaking pieces of technology currently in circulation. We are currently only just witnessing the overall impact it can have, however, the future is yet to be shaped and the outcome is set to be huge.
Data access technologies are extremely advanced, however, the next step is to provide real-time, life-saving patient information to surgeons. This will allow for a much safer practice and will allow for a higher success rate with more complex surgeries and procedures.
Augmented reality is set to allow surgeons to precisely study their patient’s anatomy, which is done by accessing their MRI data, CT scans and X-Rays via an AR headset. This will allow a deeper exploration and for medical professionals to be able to develop a greater understanding of the inner-workings of an individual.
Despite existing technology providing great insight into medical issues, doctors are only as good as the results that are put in front of them and doing additional tests to find an issue could waste time-saving errors. Having the additional insight could help to create a wider understanding of potentially hidden issues that existing machines have failed to pick up on.
Surgeons will be able to visualise layers of muscle, bone and internal organs without having to make an incision and cut open the body. This could help to identify exactly where you need to administer an injection, make an incision and so on. This technology can be used for low-risk surgeries, but also for emergency surgeries too, which can help to save lives.
Microsoft has introduced an AR technology, HoloLens AR glasses, which during reconstructive surgery on patients who have suffered severe injuries, allows surgeons to use a handheld scanner to locate major blood vessels near a wound. This happens by a 3D image being displayed to them with precise accuracy.
This is also becoming an increasingly popular technology for cosmetic surgery procedures. For example, many cosmetic clinics have started to use similar technology for precision and to ensure that the overall aesthetic is perfect for surgical procedures such as breast reduction and abdominoplasty procedures.
Augmented diagnosis is another revolutionary technique that AR has brought into the medical world. This makes it possible for doctors to get a better understanding of what is actually wrong with a patient.
It’s often the case that patients find it difficult to articulate what is actually wrong with them as they are unsure of what it is or where the source of the pain is coming from. Likewise, young children are unable to tell people what is wrong with them. This technology can cut out the time it takes for everyone to have a better understanding of what is wrong. Nurses can find veins easier with AR, for example, by using a handheld scanner which projects over the skin.
AR is revolutionary for medical practice as a whole and can shed new light on education and treatment. Many institutions are beginning to integrate this into everyday life and are subsequently becoming more efficient and effective.
High tech advancements have clearly improved how medicine is processed and understood, however, AR technology is only at the very conception stages of its capability and there is so much more potential for this to be elevated further. As machines become more affordable and practices become more mainstream, we expect to see a further increase in the number of hospitals and medical practices using this technology across the globe.
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