While the Metaverse has a long way to go, it has already begun to establish itself as a major player across an array of industries. The new technology holds the potential to alter the way we play, learn, work, and interact but this should come as no surprise. Technology has been rapidly transforming these landscapes since the start of web 2.0 and the Metaverse’s impact will be no different.
Just like the advent of telehealth and mobile device integration in the past, the Metaverse stands to be a massive gamechanger for healthcare. This advancement will impact healthcare at all levels, not just user experience. Virtual reality is predicted to offer great improvements in medical training, therapeutic resources, social distancing accommodations, education, and more.
The Metaverse’s user-immersion aspects are a perfect vehicle to train medical staff on a larger, more cost-effective scale. Surgical training can now include more realistic scenarios, eliminating the need for costly traditional methods such as cadavers. Cutting that cost by utilizing a virtual subject allows for more frequent and individualized training. Additionally, the Metaverse’s ability to create life-like scenarios can have a performance-enhancing effect on surgical trainees’ technical capabilities, such as precision and decision-making skills.
But the educational benefits aren’t just for those in training. The Metaverse will also be used in complex surgical operations, as doctors are always looking to improve the accepted methods and increase success rates. Furthermore, surgeons from around the world can meet virtually to collaborate in surgery with assistance from other consultants and specialists so patients from anywhere in the world can get the appropriate treatment without having to travel a great distance. This also provides the opportunity to improve the skill of healthcare professionals from around the world, allowing physicians from disparate locations to practice procedures together, collaboratively, on a virtual patient in the Metaverse. Now, these physicians can train on difficult clinical cases they would otherwise only experience on a live patient.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Telehealth quickly grew in popularity. According to the World Health Orginization, prior to 2020 just 43% of healthcare facilities could offer the remote service. Today, that percentage is up to 95%. Advancements in this technology have allowed physicians and nurses to treat patients with minor ailments and complete routine consultations more quickly and efficiently. As the Metaverse continues to develop it will undoubtedly offer up an entirely new set of possibilities. For example, patients would no longer be limited by their location. If you are in Europe and the top specialist for your condition is in the US, the Metaverse would allow you to virtually be in the same room. Scans and tests may be conducted at a location near you, and the data can be sent to an expert anywhere in the world. This progression would be especially crucial for patients in remote areas who would otherwise have to travel great lengths to receive adequate treatment.
The expansion of telehealth into the Metaverse will also become helpful for therapeutic and psychological applications. This arena for online treatment is gaining popularity amongst providers of therapy sessions, support groups, psychological examinations, and even physical rehabilitation. Patients will be able to have the comfort and environmental experience of in-person therapy sessions while maintaining the convenience of doing it at home. It also provides increased access for those with disabilities and gives a life-like experience to individuals suffering from phobias, stress, addiction, psychosis, and other similar issues. Similarly, aversion therapy is now being offered in the Metaverse as it can give patients an opportunity to interact in situations that cause them anxiety, in a life-like, safe environment where every aspect of the interaction can be closely monitored and controlled.
Besides the obvious ability to help students get top-notch schooling from anywhere around the world, the Metaverse will also be helpful for pharmaceutical companies and medical device developers alike. This technology can be utilized by medical device developers and life science businesses to teach and train healthcare professionals about their equipment and therapeutics. For example, a medical device company can create an interactive virtual version of their radiotherapy system that replicates a hospital site visit. Rather than traveling from hospital to hospital (challenging even before the pandemic) or trying to explain multimillion-dollar equipment using a slide deck or videos the Metaverse technology will allow healthcare professionals to engage with the product step-by-step from anywhere, at any time.
Pharma companies can use the technology to show their timelines, provide visualization for how the drug works, and even recreate the experiences caused by various conditions. The Metaverse will become a space where both industries can teach and train healthcare professionals on their devices and therapeutics for increased usability and productivity for all.
With all the possibilities for the Metaverse, even in its early stages of life, it will indubitably make a huge mark on the healthcare industry. Digital health solutions are now poised to achieve an unprecedented level of scalability and volume due to the advent of AR & VR technology, both of which offer previously unimaginable possibilities. Some Healthcare organizations have already begun breaking ground with virtual hospitals, developing various services and treatments in hopes their innovation will lead to reduced costs and improved outcomes for patients. As the future moves into the Metaverse it is important to prepare your business, so you don’t fall behind. For more information on how to navigate the Metaverse click below.