5 Practical ways healthcare will enter the Metaverse

July 15th, 2022

Category: metaverse,Metaverse in healthcare

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Posted by: teamta

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“Today, I think we look at the internet, but I think in the future, you’re going to be in the experiences…we view our role here as helping to stitch together some of these things.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Are we stepping onto a new epoch in healthcare with the arrival of the metaverse?

Healthcare is an industry that is constantly evolving due to new innovations in the medical space. From scans and X-rays to robotic surgeries and virtual reality, the same sector is seeing a massive digital transformation. Moving beyond the adoption of the latest and innovative technologies, the healthcare industry is now entering into the metaverse space. The idea of the metaverse in the healthcare sector itself holds lucrative opportunities in the medical field, as it is a promising technology that could deliver tangible benefits to individuals and businesses, opening new paths to health, happiness, and economic opportunity.

This blog will explore more about joining metaverse in the healthcare sector

What is Metaverse?

Metaverse, the latest buzzword in the tech market, is a parallel reality or visual representation of reality in a virtual world, where users can connect, meet, and engage in real-world experiences virtually. It is developed by the amalgamation of technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and artificial intelligence (AI). Accessed via the Internet, in a metaverse, human emotions and gestures can be simulated, and it includes the whole social and economic structure existing in both the actual and virtual worlds.

Industry experts are continuously discussing how this virtual space can transform various verticals such as gaming, entertainment, socializing, work, and commerce. This is because, with a predicted market size of $800 billion by 2024 (earthweb.com), the metaverse is taking social connections to the next level. And as per the statistics, over 74% of adults in the US have joined or are considering joining this virtual space. 

Role of Metaverse in Healthcare

While metaverse is evolving around various industries, it holds new potential in the healthcare sector too. Though not a lot has been spoken about how metaverse might affect healthcare, some have already adopted the technology into their space; such as HealthLand.io, Bump Galaxy, and so on. The metaverse has the prospects to improve all aspects of healthcare, from virtual wellness to complicated surgical procedures. It can open up completely new channels for delivering treatment, lowering costs, and significantly improving patient outcomes in healthcare.

As mentioned above, metaverse combines technologies such as AI, VR, and AR; however, when it comes to metaverse and healthcare, it combines The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), Web 3.0, intelligent cloud, edge, and quantum computing, as well as robots, to give new avenues in this sector.

5 Practical ways Healthcare will Enter the Metaverse

Here are some of the ways that show metaverse will be the next frontier in the healthcare sector:

Gamification 

The role of gaming will persist in the metaverse and it’s a way that can be used to connect & bring healthcare practitioners and patients together. Though generally in the metaverse anyone can imagine, create, or have fun with friends, in healthcare, the gamification is restricted largely to wellness and fitness apps, which helps to achieve better population health.  

Digital Twin

A virtual model or simulation of any object, process, or machine-generated application that is created using real-world data to learn more about its real-world parallel is a digital twin. That is, in the metaverse, the patient’s digital twin could be the patient themselves. Few applications of the digital twin in healthcare include;

  • Recognizing individual risk factors
  • Increase intervention success
  • Helps in more precise and rapid diagnosis
  • Faster, fewer, and safer clinical trials
  • Optimize the efficiency of healthcare facilities

According to Jack Latus, CEO of Latus Health, Digital twins may someday become personal “check dummies” that can be used to speculate how we will recover after surgery and how we will react to specific medicines.

Telehealth

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth or telemedicine gained a lot of traction. According to the statistics by Accenture, before the pandemic, only 43% of healthcare facilities could deliver remote therapy to patients, but now it has mounted to 95%. However, with the entry of metaverse, the telemedicine area would gain more attraction, as it would enable patient visits with a virtual office, where patients and physicians can meet in a 3D clinic or any other location. It also enables healthcare providers to effectively examine patients and potentially diagnose certain health conditions virtually. 

Mental Health

It is believed that the metaverse has the potential to revolutionize mental health treatment in a kinder, gentler place, with better personal presence and reliable social connections. Issues such as PTS, anxiety disorders, delusions, psychosis, hallucinations, and eating disorders can be effectively treated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists using the metaverse immersive experiences. Also, the metaverse could provide mental health care services for disabled people or people who deal with geographic barriers to getting care.

Surgery and Medical Training

At present, surgeons are performing minimally invasive surgeries using the latest technologies such as AR, VR, and AI for augmenting patient outcomes. Leading hospitals and universities use these immersive technologies for surgeries because it gives a 3D view of a patient’s body that helps them to interpret surgeries, plan, and perform operations on them.

Similarly, the combination of AR, VR, MR and AI simulations in the metaverse are also a safe and efficient way for surgeons to conduct a surgery or for measurable medical training. Metaverse also helps them in attending surgeons-in-training to improve their craft as it offers space and realistic interaction between doctor-patient, including objects, and also helps in facing various technical challenges and complications.

In a nutshell

To conclude we can blindly say that the metaverse is the next big thing in the medical field. Being an emerging concept in healthcare, metaverse will bring many new dimensions to this industry, where we can expect an alteration and improvement in the industry over the next few years. Also, being a sector that has largely remained traditional, healthcare would require some time to adapt to the current buzz. Moreover, despite the optimism surrounding the new virtual space or technology, there are still various hurdles on the path to standardizing metaverse in healthcare, including the adoption of the latest smart technologies, particularly among the elderly population. Once the platform gets standardized in the metaverse, it will be a great tool to learn, empower and provide blissful experiences to patients and providers and at the same time, it will reduce costs and improve outcomes for patients.  

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