Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are two mega trends driving investment from many of the large technology companies, including Google, SAP, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple. There is a largely untapped opportunity for healthcare organizations to leverage VR and AR to improve or expand their services for the benefit of their patients and customers. Organizations including Regis Aged Care and Children’s Health Queensland are already using VR to improve their services, but there are so many new technologies and applications coming into the market, that it is hard for many to know where to start.
“The real mission for commercial AR is integrating the technology so that it enhances the customer experience to make it easier, more fun, and more convenient. We don’t want to live in a world where tangible, physical elements are replaced with digital replicas.”
– Ana Javornik, the Harvard Business Review
To help provide some direction, I have compiled the following list of five promising AR and VR technologies for healthcare organizations to consider.
What it is: AccuVein created a handheld device that scans and illuminates a map of a patient’s veins over their skin to ease IV injections. This creates an opportunity to improve the 40% of IVs that miss their mark, health outcomes, and the patient experience.
Its top advantage: AccuVein’s specialized use case complements the way clinicians currently work, minimizing the education and cultural change required to adopt the technology.
What it is: EchoPixel is an advanced medical image visualization system, that uses AR to create interactive, 3D rendered visualizations of volumetric medical images and data.
Its top advantage: If it improves the ability and speed for clinicians to generate insights from volumetric medical imagery, then this technology could be a key investment for organizations such as GE and Siemens.
RealView Imaging is another company to watch in this area.
3. Medical Realities
What it is: Medical Realities is using VR to train students and educate patients in surgery.
Its top advantage: There is a strong potential for Medical Realities to prepare patients for intimidating surgeries. However, there is an even greater potential for organizations such as Medical Realities to redefine how medical education is delivered at (and outside of) university.
4. Inner Optic
What it is: InnerOptic’s AIM 3D software uses spatial technology to guide needles to target locations, improving the accuracy of needle-based interventions, reducing injuries, and shortening procedure times.
Its top advantage: This organization is targeting a big issue in hospitals. However, there are hundreds of applications that this needle guidance technology can be applied to.
5. Vivid Vision
What it is: Vivid Vision has created VR games that examine data, including game performance and eye movement, to diagnose eye conditions, such as amblyopia, strabismus, and vergence disorders.
Its top advantage: Vivid Vision could be quickly adopted by optometrists, as it involves a familiar and enjoyable process. This could also be a differentiator for optometrists that want to attract more families with young children.
There are many new forms of AR & VR technology coming into the market, whether leveraging handheld devices, smart glasses, VR goggles, etc. With a technology that causes equal levels of excitement and scepticism, it will be important to consider the road to adoption as much as its application. Start small, think big, and share your success with others. After intra- and inter-organizational momentum builds, these new technologies may then deliver the promised impact and return on a larger scale.
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This post was originally published on LinkedIn.