Augmented and virtual reality in healthcare is here to stay

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies are increasingly being used in healthcare, allowing healthcare professionals to learn new skills, assisting in surgery, and improving patient care.

A new report from Grand View Research predicts that the market for such applications will be worth as much as $5.1bn (£3.98bn) by 2025, up from $568.7m (£443.24m) in 2016.

According to the report, the market is mainly being driven by applications in surgical simulations, diagnostic imaging, patient care management, rehabilitation, and health management.

AR and VR assists in complicated surgeries that require precision, resulting in reduced complications and lesser trauma. It can also be used in training medical professionals, providing them with an enhanced understanding of anatomy and physiology.

Additionally, VR can help patients overcome their fears and phobias through exposure therapy and it can be used in Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which enables patients to reframe traumatic memories through certain eye movements. It is also helpful in chronic pain management.

Meanwhile, AR-based apps are used in aftercare of patients and to help elderly people manage their medications.

“The rise in adoption of such innovative technologies that provide revolutionary solutions for better care management and real-time care services is expected to boost growth of the market in the coming years,” the report says. “In addition, the growing significance of medical visualisation, preventive medicines, surgical robots, and various health apps is contributing to the growing penetration of these advanced technologies in healthcare sector.”

AR is currently the dominant technology segment. It has wide applications and has brought significant changes to the healthcare industry, according to Grand View Research.

AR ensures users do not lose contact with the real world and it puts the information into the eyesight as quickly as possible. “This is expected to make AR a driving force in the future of medicine,” the report states.

However, VR is also expected to show rapid growth over the coming years, boosted by the use of VR in pain therapy sessions, telesurgery, visualisation of anatomy, and exposure therapy.


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