The Healthcare industry has undergone magnificent changes in the last decade thanks to evolving technological innovations. From CT Scans to Portable Wearables for better health monitoring and a paradigm shift to ‘value-based care’, there is a fundamental change in patient diagnosis, treatment, education and training of medical professionals. One of the latest exciting additions that has accelerated this is Augmented Technology(AT). The AT market has a huge potential and is expected to reach USD 1.5 billion by 2020.
AT is a technological reality that benefits the real world with significant value-addition. This is achieved by the overlay and display of digital information and media including videos and 3D models in real-time without delays. This information is transmitted from the digital realm into the perception of our surrounding environment. It may be viewed using display devices, camera, smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers or healthcare wearables.
With booming populations and increasing lifespan of people, healthcare services are under tremendous pressure to meet the global demands. With additional challenges to accessibility and quality of standard care practices, these rising demands are raising the healthcare costs and stretching the existing resources. AT plays a crucial role in overcoming this hurdle with its enormous ability to seamlessly integrate the direct sensory experiences of the real world through visual stimulation by effectively utilizing the potential and power of digitization.
AT implementation has wide-spread implications capable of enormously transforming the healthcare sector. Its wide spectrum of capabilities ranges from disseminating real-time information and guidance during complicated medical interventions and surgical procedures to supporting post-hospitalization care and managing hospital administration.
Advantages of AT in Healthcare
Enhances the patient experience by better care management – Nearly 91% of patients worldwide require healthcare support for managing their ailments after hospitalization or in-between check-up visits. AT facilitates dynamic interactive learning using 3D models using devices like smart glasses which ingrain the treatment in the patient’s learning by simulating a real-life experience. It also provides better product visualization for over-the-counter medications or foods and gives enhanced prosthetic experiences to decrease the traumatic effect in patients suffering limb losses.
Promotes patient education and awareness on preventive health – Apps based on Augmented Reality may be utilized to clearly depict the potential impact of diseases. By providing a multi-sensory experience, it can help in better understanding and interpretation to patients. Such apps also educate family members or caretakers on the pathology and consequence of certain health conditions thereby helping them in making more positive contributions towards the well-being of their loved ones.
Supports surgeons with real-time patient information in complicated surgeries – AT furnishes real-time life-saving information to surgeons during complex invasive procedures and surgeries. It can help in better interpreting CT scan and MRI results by overlaying patient’s anatomy on their body so that their internal organs, bones and muscles can be visualized even before the surgery. This helps in making incisions and giving injections at precise locations thereby increasing clinical accuracy, reducing risks and expediting emergency procedures. This is particularly useful for quickly locating veins (by using handheld scanners for illumination) or identifying blood vessels near wounds in Minimal Invasive Surgeries. Thus, patients can get substantial relief during painful medical procedures.
Promotes higher sale volumes in new drug marketing – In today’s competitive landscape between drug manufacturers and healthcare providers, even small advantages and features may be instrumental in leading to considerable business and monetary gains. Medical sales representatives may harness AT to showcase the benefits of a new drug or medicine to the physicians by simulating its effects on a 3D organ visualization to create a profound impact. Doctors and other healthcare professionals may access such demos to visualize the effect of the condition, understand how the proposed treatment works and even calculate the potential cost benefits to achieve greater margins!
Assists in the training through educational apps – Just as the theory of human anatomy, surgical interventions and disease pathology is vital to medical students, understanding the human body functioning is equally crucial.AT apps using 3D printing can aid such students by overlaying and displaying anatomical information. It has the capability of even adding meaningful, interactive and valuable elements to textbook lessons for deeper understanding. Using innovative methods as Google Glass for storing and retrieving surgical procedures, AT enables users to experience a live surgery through the hands of a surgical expert to gather knowledge and gain insights on valuable techniques.
Earlier detection of maladies – Certain specific life-threatening ailments as malignancy of skin can be detected early by AT for starting early clinical interventions, better monitoring or total prevention. Patients with symptoms like skin lesions and abnormal moles can be reviewed periodically by concerned specialists.AT apps help these doctors in quickly comparing diagnostic results and recording the symptomatic changes over various timespans for ensuring higher success rates and faster recovery.
Thus, AT is a ground-breaking technology in healthcare today which benefits patients and physicians alike. It supports informed medical decision-making leading to higher standards of care services and quality of life.
FrontEnders Healthcare Services is a healthcare consulting firm providing realistic solutions to the healthcare challenges in India & overseas. Our goal is to make a positive change, wherever we are and whatever we are into. FrontEnders will assist you to set up functional healthcare organizational as well as operational goals, from a long-term viability perspective. Our mission is to be a principle enabler of quality, affordable, accessible and sustainable healthcare services, globally.