By Gokul Siddharthan J, DCMME Graduate Student Assistant

AR Medicine

Augmented reality has the potential to play a big role in improving the healthcare industry. It has only been a few years since the first implementation of augmented reality in medicine, and it has already filled an important place in the medical routine.

These technologies blend computer-generated images and data with real-world views, making it possible for doctors to visualize bones, muscles, and organs without having to cut open a body. Experts say AR will transform medical care by improving precision during operations, reducing medical errors, and giving doctors and patients a better understanding of complex medical problems.

There are numerous uses of AR in the medical field. Few uses are in describing symptoms, nursing care, surgery, diabetes management, navigation and pharmacy. In a situation where it’s hard to describe the symptom to the doctor, AR can help. There are apps for AR out there that show the simulation of the vision and how it’s harmed by different diseases, helping patients better understand their condition and describing correctly. About 40% of the first intravenous injections fail, and this ratio is even higher in the case of children and elderly patients. An app uses augmented reality projects on the skin to show the patients’ veins. Spinal surgery is a long and difficult process. But with the use of AR, it can reduce the time, cut the risks and improve the results. A startup has created an AR headset for spine surgeons that overlays a 3D model of the CT-scan on the spine, so the surgeon gets some kind of “X-Ray” vision.

There are several benefits for patients and doctors, it reduces the risks associated with minimally invasive surgery. Screens displaying vital statistics and images being delivered by an endoscopic camera could be replaced by AR devices. Patients can use AR for educational purposes to better understand themselves and prepare. There are apps that could help a non-medical person understand the body better. Medical training without risks is a great possibility of using augmented reality. The training is more interactive and combines theory and real-world applications on the screen in front of the eyes.

AR has already shown its value in medicine. It’s only a matter of time to come up with better applications and devices that can be used on a daily basis effectively. As healthcare costs continue to grow, AR will play a vital role in preventing, controlling and curing millions of people.