Implementing VR & AR in Medicine and Medical Training
Implementing VR & AR in Medicine and Medical Training
The use of virtual reality in medical education is emerging in the healthcare field as a high-tech solution for improving medical education. Medical staff are continually learning throughout their lifetime of work. Today, with medical tools undergoing revolutionary upgrades faster than ever before, it is critical for these professionals to stay up to date with innovations. If ignored, that growing gap in knowledge hampers their ability to provide good services to their patients.
AR/VR technology in medicine presents ideal opportunities for startups. For example, according to the global Healthcare AR/VR market will reach $5,115M by 2025. The future for this technology looks promising.
This article will share Onix’s insights on some most prominent use cases of AR/VR in healthcare, how they can improve the business’ revenue cycle, and our experience building VR applications in medical training with mobile VR support backed by case studies.
Virtual and Augmented Reality in Medical Training: Use Cases
How can virtual and augmented reality in medical education benefit patient care, which is crucial for the industry?
At the very least, using AR and VR applications in medical training helps future doctors obtain more vital knowledge, thus providing more accurate diagnoses for their patients. Here are some real-life examples of how AR and VR technologies are already used in medical training.
FundamentalVR was founded in 2012 in London. It was named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions for 2018 and received an Interactive Innovation Award at SXSW 2019.
FundamentalVR offers simulator-based training programs for surgeons, with all its simulations being approved by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The simulations are aimed at helping surgeons in training to rehearse and improve their techniques and skills by providing a safe, controlled virtual environment. It also has a tactile feedback feature.
Augmedics is a Chicago-based company founded in 2014. In March 2021, Augmedics raised $36M in an oversubscribed Series C financing with an international syndicate of Israel-US investors.
Augmedics developed the first augmented reality (AR) navigation system aimed at being used in surgery and is called xvision. The technology projects a 3D representation onto the surgeon’s retina using a headset to see the patient’s anatomy through skin and tissue as if using X-ray vision. It helps the surgeon to simultaneously attend to the patient and see the navigation data. The system has demonstrated a 98.9% overall placement accuracy when tested on spinal screws in cadavers.
Health Scholars was founded in Westminster, Colorado, in 2017. In January 2020, Health Scholars closed its $17M Series B to support further development and expansion of its VR content library.
Their VR training solutions are aimed to scale life-saving experiences through VR simulation powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Health Scholars’ VR simulations address emergency care training for adult and pediatric scenarios in various settings (e.g., pre-hospital or perioperative). Realistic and accurate visualizations help in mastering life-saving skills by delivering targeted virtual reality medical training.
HoloAnatomy by Microsoft
HoloAnatomy app was developed in 2016 and won the 2016 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Science Media Awards. The app is free but was tailored to be used with the Microsoft HoloLens device.
It was the first AR healthcare educational application that provided students with a digitized, interactive anatomy curriculum. It uses mixed reality technology that assists in studying human anatomy with a high level of detail and interactivity. HoloAnatomy proved to provide an excellent value for medical students and practitioners by giving them seamless access to the tiniest details of the human body.
How Can VR for Medical Education Improve Your Revenue Cycle?
The advances of VR in learning and training allow students and specialists to train more enjoyably and engagingly. New skills are acquired and honed through practice in interactive and safe virtual environments. Students don’t necessarily require an instructor because instructions and tips are built inside the VR app. Since VR is making learning almost as easy and effortless as a game, and highly effective, the demand for VR-based solutions for healthcare is high. Implementing it can be very profitable for startups in terms of revenue while also providing a vital service to the medical community.
Medical schools can benefit from adopting augmented and virtual reality in medical devices and programs. For example, VR simulations provide the ability to explore the human body without endangering patients. A scarcity of subjects to practice on can often result in a situation where students could only practice once or twice before performing an actual surgical procedure. Virtual environments provide students with the valuable ability to explore, make mistakes, and learn from them. In addition, students can repeat these procedures multiple times.
To establish credibility, let’s turn to some benefits of virtual reality in medical education supported by research.
Even though implementing VR applications in medical training requires somewhat costly hardware and software, it is still more cost-effective than a physical simulation of the same level of complexity. According to the study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, VR is 83% more cost-effective than high-fidelity mannequin-based simulation.
The vast majority of students who used VR technologies in their medical education stated that it enables faster work, enhances their performance, and boosts their motivation (supported by a study by Research Gate). Another survey by Research Gate states that VR training can scale up to any number of learners and improve overall performance by 250%.
According to the Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education, Art, and Museums book, using VR in education makes it possible to reach a four times better retention rate than traditional educational methods. The book states that students of VR training retain 80% of the information after a year of training, while conventional methods showed only a 20% retention rate.
Reduced Number of Errors
According to research by Accenture, VR-trained surgeon students had 40% fewer mistakes than a similar group of students that trained using traditional methods. Additionally, the study by Springer Link shows that over 68% of students responded positively to using VR tutorials.
VR Learners are More Confident to Act on Acquired Knowledge
Virtual reality simulations in healthcare education allow students to train and rehearse their skills in immersive and low-stress environments, gaining more confidence when it comes to applying the acquired knowledge in real-life situations. As the PWC study shows, VR-trained students were up to 275% more confident to act on what they learned.
Medical device makers benefit from virtual environments as well. Instead of giving personal instructions or demonstrations to every specialist, they use VR to present their products. Although VR devices can be costly, each year, these companies are making this technology available to the broader audience by producing simpler headsets such as Oculus Go. The price points for these new devices are often cheaper than sending representatives to meet in person with clients.
Augmented Reality (AR) Is Also Suitable For Medical Training
Augmented reality overlays digital details on the physical world, producing real and digital environments. The increased usage of AR came along with the innovations that made it available and applicable. It may not be as engaging as VR but can still yield outstanding results.