What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse is the new global buzzword for the disruptive transformation expected in many aspects of our lives – metaverse in healthcare will be no exception. It is the augmented virtual world which is derived by the convergence of virtual and physical space, where users can interact within the augmented world, to meet each other virtually and can immerse themselves in performing virtual activities that gives real experiences.
For many decades, the delivery of healthcare has required physical interaction between a patient and a doctor as a means of making a diagnosis, receiving medical treatment, or performing surgical procedures for the patient. This changed slightly with the emergence of telehealth services, but we are now on the cusp of an unprecedented advancement through technology that offers previously unimaginable possibilities.
While the Metaverse is still evolving, it undoubtedly offers exciting possibilities by combining technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Internet of Medical Devices, Web 3.0, intelligent cloud, edge and quantum computing along with robotics to provide new possibilities.
The concept of the Metaverse has incredible potential, providing a revolutionary approach to human interaction and connection. The recent change of Facebook’s name to Meta is evidence of the company’s far-sightedness and vision that Metaverse will shape the Internet in the coming years.
The truth is that Facebook has invested in virtual and augmented reality for years and has been designing new ways to build interactive platforms, and even before changing its name, the company indicated its direction towards this technology through its acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus. Facebook also has amazing potential to include Metaverse in healthcare, especially since it already has a strong social networking infrastructure.
Increase use of Virtual Reality in medical training
Virtual Reality is already being used by doctors and experts to train fellow medical colleagues, wherein VR can be leveraged to take a learner within a human body and can provide 360 view of patient’s ailment or to replicate procedures that are applied in real world. The entire interactions can be recorded and viewed over the desktop screens to provide minute details
Use of Augmented Reality in Surgical procedures
Surgical procedures were already using robotics, but now, complicated surgeries are all set to use AR. Be it the removal of cancerous tumours, or performing a complicated spinal surgery, the world continues to search for the advancements to perform these types of surgeries with precision.
Larger companies have amazing potential for moving to virtual reality, and many other smaller companies are investing in digital healthcare, whether it is to improve the telemedicine experience through augmented reality or by making medical experiences more convenient and safer for patients.
Surgeons might meet in a virtual operating theatre and collaborate on surgeries with assistance from other consultants and experts. In the future, surgeons might be able to see above the patient’s body, their vitals, images, history, and navigate easily among multiple patient data.
Metaverse will transform patient visits & support
One of the best uses of the metaverse, would be a world in which doctors make their visits virtually. Not all visits requires a physical examination by a doctor, and for simple consultations, it could be transformational. Telemedicine and teleconsultation services are on the increase all over the world, and it is likely that the metaverse will change the old culture of physical visits quite significantly.
The Metaverse could augment these visits with a virtual office, where patients and physicians can meet in a 3D clinic or any other location. Another idea to benefit from metaverse is digital therapeutics. There are a lot of innovations in this area especially in mental health apps & platforms such as MindBerry who already provide virtual counselling sessions. This month the company is offering free virtual health sessions to all NHS staff.
Also in remote care solutions, it is expected that the metaverse will be very helpful in remote monitoring where nurses can meet patients in the metaverse and perform the daily check and discussions.
Transforming patient visits from family
In the last 2+ years many hospitals imposed restrictions on patient visits because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We can expect a new innovation in social measures when we visit a friend or a family member after a surgery or a critical health condition at the hospital.
We will be able to visit patients without restrictions on physical attendance or even visit several times a day to offer support and aid recovery. Metaverse is likely to augment these visits with a virtual office, where patients and physicians can meet in a 3D clinic or any other location.
Radiology is one of the main services in healthcare that depends on technology. In the last 10 years, we have witnessed a lot of development in its technologies, starting from scanner machines or software solutions that unleashed new capabilities in this field. Image visualisation and manipulation will have the opportunity to become much more advanced than we are seeing today with imaging technologies in metaverse enabling better visualisation for radiologists to see dynamic images with more details that can help them make a better diagnosis.
Radiologists will be able to collaborate on medical images in a 3D format, while they are in different places or countries.
Healthcare data is one of the most complicated and crucial to patient care. The metaverse will enable physicians to diagnose and treat through incoming data from many different sources.
In response to the growth in Adverse Drug Events (ADE), resulting from medical interventions via drug treatments (medication errors, adverse drug reactions, allergic reactions, and overdoses), StrongRoom AI has created the next generation of drug management solutions. The technology leverages the power of facial recognition to advance medical care, using 3D Facial Mapping Techniques to capture facial biomarkers and expressions, correlating them to symptoms and diseases.
StrongRoom AI uniquely aggregates drug data across pharmacies, hospitals, and care homes providing unique patient and organisational insights. The business has grown rapidly over the last 12 months and is forecasting to win market share over the next two to three years driving real efficiencies and creating preventative healthcare solutions in these markets. In installed sites Strong Room is seeing 100 patients a day using their digital platform proving it is highly attractive to customers and site management.
At Tyson & Blake, we invest in technologies that have the ability to make a profound impact upon society. Metaverse technology will undoubtedly transform healthcare practice if it comes with the true innovation that the the world is expecting Companies will also have to create this technology in a way that is not only safe, but also delivers on the human aspects of medical advancements which will always be critical to successful healthcare.