Augmented Reality in the Healthcare Industry

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While the healthcare market might not be the first area you might think of in relation to augmented reality, it is one of the sectors that is embracing this technology and using it in innovative and highly imaginative and instructive ways to improve user experience in all fields of operation.

Augmented reality (if you don’t already know) is a digitised merging of real-world and virtual imagery to produce a living, composite picture that can be used in entertainment (principally gaming – Pokémon Go being the most obvious example), education, training, building planning, interior design, clothing and probably hosts of other applications developing as we speak.

AR healthcare

How AR enhances User Experience in Healthcare

The healthcare industry using AR technology in several ways:

  • Providing information to patients and practitioners – more practical, useful and relevant information can be conveyed to patients through AR. For example, instead of a patient trying to describe symptoms they could be shown or indicate the problem on AR images. Also the locations of items such as defibrillators could be identified via AR. Patients records can also be transmitted via AR saving valuable time and resources during critical procedures.
  • Helping surgeons during operations – surgeons require focus and concentration during delicate operations. If the crucial information on the patient’s progress and vital signs was relayed via AR glasses they would not have to divert their attention away from the operation and efficiency and safety would be improved. AR can also be used to accurately reproduce the size and location of tumours in the body, for example, giving surgeons more information before they actually begin an operation.
  • Enabling diagnoses – if AR was to reproduce, for example, certain sight conditions patients might be able to identify their own problems more readily.
  • Helping nurses administer injections – an AR app exists that enables nurses to locate veins more easily to administer injections with less pain and trouble.
  • Digital contact lenses – these can be used not only to augment and improve sight for users but they can also have important information incorporated into them, for example, monitoring blood sugar-levels in diabetes sufferers. Other important health and fitness data could be incorporated and used in these and similar devices.
  • Education for patients - AR could help patients to locate areas of the body and organs which might be causing problems and identify if they are suffering from particular conditions.  Patients could be talked through actions relating to theirs (and others) health, such as breastfeeding babies with information being transmitted in both directions via AR devices. It can also help patients to understand the actions of drugs on the body.
  • Training for medical students - .In terms of training medics, AR can be used to provide 3D images of the anatomy, organs, bone structures etc which can help students learn about the body and its mechanisms and how disease and deficiencies affect them. Students can also watch virtual operation in 3D via an app that allows them much closer and more detailed  access to the operation than prior techniques.

Augmented reality will continue to develop new applications in this, and many other areas. If you are interested in finding out more about this revolutionary technology, why not ring us on +44(0)800 024624 or email us at info@usability247.com.