Healthcare is one of the major promoters of virtual reality, which encompasses surgical simulation, treatment of phobias, robotic surgery and professional training.

One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows health professionals to learn new skills as well as refresh existing ones in a safe environment. In addition, it allows this without causing any danger to patients.

Human simulation software

An example of this is that this system allows doctors, nurses and other medical staff to interact with each other in an interactive environment. They get involved in training scenarios where they have to interact with a patient, but only within a 3D environment. It is an immersion experience that measures the emotions of the participants through a series of sensors.

Virtual reality diagnosis

Virtual reality is often used as a diagnostic tool, as it allows physicians to arrive at a diagnosis along with other methods, such as MRIs. This eliminates the need for invasive procedures or surgeries.

Virtual Robotic Surgery

A popular use of this technology is robotic surgery. This is where the surgery is performed using a robotic device – controlled by a human surgeon – that reduces the time and risk of complications. Virtual reality has also been used for training purposes and in the field of remote tele-surgery, in which the surgery is performed by the surgeon in a place separate from the patient.

The main feature of this system is force feedback, as the surgeon needs to be able to measure the amount of pressure to be used when performing a delicate procedure.

But there is a delay time or latency problem that is a serious concern since any delay – even a fraction of a second – can feel abnormal for the surgeon and interrupt the procedure. Therefore, there needs to be precise force feedback to avoid this.

Robotic surgery and other topics related to virtual reality and medicine can be found in the virtual reality and health section. This section contains a list of individual articles dealing with virtual reality in surgery, etc.

Augmented Reality and its impact on the healthcare industry

Augmented reality superimposes augmented digital information into the physical world. It allows data collection and presents the data in 3D. Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, is where computer-assisted technology is used to virtually build a simulated environment.

Today, the global market for virtual reality and augmented reality in different end-user industries was valued at $12.15 billion by 2018 and is projected to reach $78.45 billion by 2025.

Increasing expenditures in the healthcare industry and the need for cutting-edge technologies for the development of new diagnostics and treatment therapies drove the need to integrate AR and VR technology into the healthcare industry.

Augmented reality in healthcare can help project the body’s organs in 3D or high-definition visuals to highlight problem areas and make better treatment decisions. These technologies can be combined with existing technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray systems, to gather all the information for the surgeon to perform improved, high-precision surgeries.

According to BIS Research’s recently released market intelligence report Global Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market in Healthcare – Analysis and Forecasts, 2019-2025, the virtual reality and augmented reality market in the healthcare sector was estimated at about $2.14 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $11.14 billion in 2025. The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.13% over the forecast period 2018-2025.

Key factors influencing AR and VR in health care

The market for AR and VR in the healthcare sector is influenced by several factors. Some of these factors are responsible for driving market growth, and others are opportunities that may allow key market players to maintain competition and grow. Other factors are the challenges that hold back market growth.

Due to factors such as increased investments in the AR and VR market, the provision of competent services to patients and technological advances in AR and VR, the market is expected to grow significantly.

The incorporation of AR and VR into medical imaging, surgical suites and clinics, and their use in training professionals to assist in medical procedures and complex surgeries are some of the most promising applications of these technologies so far. In addition, with the rapid digitization of the healthcare sector, thanks to investments from major companies, the AR and VR industry is expected to expand its scope at an accelerated pace in the coming years.

In addition, the introduction of AR and VR technology in hospitals and healthcare services has successfully addressed the concerns associated with the simulation-based training system. The technology has led to the development of safer systems and has organised personalised data for medical procedures.

AR and VR technology allows physicians to view precise images of body structures without intrusive methods, making diagnosis an easy process for the patient. Today, the global market for AR and VR in healthcare has been used for patient experience applications, therapeutics, training, pharmacy executives and medical procedures.

Market Drivers and Opportunities

In addition, the key factor driving the growth of the virtual and augmented reality market is the large volumes of technological development. Organizations and research institutes around the world are focusing on the development of more advanced technologies and tools and, consequently, on expanding the scope of RA and VR technology.

For example, in 2018, Queen’s University of Canada introduced a medical training center consisting of VR simulations. Similarly, Boston Children’s Hospital and Klick Health in 2018 developed a HealthVoyager tool that helped patients understand their medical conditions.

In addition, there are several opportunities present in the market that may help expand the market in the future. These opportunities include the development of hardware and applications with faster processing and a combination of innovative methods such as data visualization and interactive patient information and body mapping. With a number of technological advances, the augmented reality and virtual reality market is undergoing several changes.

In terms of hardware, more robust headphones are needed to overcome problems such as image latency and inaccurate magnification. Innovations such as the development of graphics processing units (GPUs), central processing units (CPUs), and digital signal processors, among others, increase the use of technologies such as depth detection and 3D mapping.

Another great opportunity that can help expand the AR and VR market in the healthcare industry is the patient information management system. Today, the extent to which data is generated and accumulated from a patient is enormous and difficult to collate.

In short, this is a crucial time to change sectors as important to society as education or health thanks to new technologies such as virtual reality.

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