AR and Healthcare: Can it Save More Lives?

25 Sep. 21

AR or augmented reality technology has seen some major adaption in previous years. From apps like Pokemon Go to the usage in social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook for filters; this growing tech has mostly seen its implementation into the world of social media and entertainment apps. But the augmented reality may begin to play a much larger role in our everyday lives, and it could see itself becoming more than just a novelty tool for app developers. There is great potential that Augmented Reality could be used to revolutionize the health care system, allowing for the easy integration of digital information with the patient’s environment in real-time. It’s becoming a more accessible, affordable, and sophisticated technology which is slowly being adopted in medical education, imaging, dentistry, and nursing training.

Right now, the primary apps used by health care professionals involving AR are AccuVein, VIPAR, Anatomy, and VA-ST. These technologies have a variety of applicable use cases to the medical field, but we’ve broken down some of the individual purposes these apps can be used for.

  1. Dentistry: AR software is utilized in many different smart glasses devices in order to put CGI in the real world, in real-time. The dentistry industry has utilized these technologies as a sort of dental scanner, allowing dentists to scan specific teeth in order to build precise crowns, caps, or fillers for cavities.
  2. Training Nurses: There are a number of ways nurses can benefit from their own usage of AR. AR-enabled tablets for example can show them simulations of a number of different scenarios involving possible patients. This trains nurse not only in improving the protocols and processes they follow on a daily basis, but also improve their communication, social, and team skills as well.
  3. Medical Imagery: Utilizing augmented reality is a great way to enhance the visualization of CT and MRI data by using stereoscopic projections during surgery. This can be vital for surgeons performing a life or death operation and can enhance the overall accuracy of the operation. Already, medical imagery with AR has seen uses with things such as localizing tumors, minimizing the pervasiveness of major surgery, and avoiding vascular or nervous system elements of the human body. This helps greatly in reducing post-operation complications and streamlines the recovery process for your patients.
  4. Medical Education: It has now become common for professors and other medical professionals to use AR when educating medical students on everything from basic anatomy and concepts to developing new therapies and drugs for medical treatment. The aforementioned Anatomy app uses optical character recognition app in order to access textbook imagery and information to be overlaid on the human body to assist students in learning the names of bones, muscles, anatomical systems, and to replace the bulky textbooks and charts commonly associated with the medical industry.
  5. Pediatric MRI Evaluations: The process of providing MRIs to children and toddlers can often be difficult for health care practitioners. Thankfully, Current Studios has an app for measuring a child’s ability to remain still during an MRI example; which allows pediatric doctors to decide whether a child should receive an anesthetic during an MRI or not.
  6. Visualization of the Vascular System: Understanding the vascular system is important for any health care practitioner. The vascular system, which controls the blood flow throughout the entire body is one of the most important factors of human anatomy. Accuvein AV400 is an AR app that maps the vascular system to the human body, allowing doctors to verify the stability of veins and arteries and locate them easier for medical injections and surgical intervention.
  7. Remote Surgery Experiences:  VIPAR or Virtual Interactive Presence in Augmented Reality is a video support system for doctors to openly communicate with each other during serious and difficult surgeries. The surgeon is able to guide their peers through the operation by project their hands onto an AR display. This allows you to follow along with the other health care professionals to ensure the surgery is safe and follows proper medical protocol.

Additionally, there are other apps that are health-care-focused and available in everyday app stores for both the regular consumer, as well as medical professionals to utilize in their business.

DoctorMole is a popular app for dermatologists to scan and receive feedback in analyzing moles to detect things like malignant lesions or cancers. Additionally, apps like EyeDecide can use your smartphone’s camera in order to simulate the impact of various eye disorders to educate both patients and health care providers about the nature of things such as vision deterioration and cataracts. Google Glass has also gotten its hand in the medical AR market, using their app MedicAR in order to assist surgeons with the proper alignment of incisions to cause less trauma on patients who receive major or complex surgeries as well as MRI examinations.

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