Augmented and virtual reality in healthcare is poised to become a near $10 billion market
A new report indicates that the market for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in healthcare is on the verge of reaching nearly $9.7 billion in the next five years. This particular niche is currently valued at approximately $2.7 billion, which indicates that it will grow about 3.5 times by 2027.
There are many motives behind this phenomenon. In particular, AR and VR have the potential to enable a variety of new approaches in healthcare, from how doctors and other medical professionals are trained, to increasing their ability to practice medicine via telehealth and telemedicine. In fact, technology has allowed an entirely new perspective to the practice of medicine.
Many companies are already beginning to take advantage of this technology and the potential applications it provides for healthcare. I’ve written previously about how AR and VR are the “next frontier” of healthcare; This idea continues to be renewed with increased interest and investment in metaverse. One notable example is the Meta Reality Labs project to bring a twist to the virtual world. The project resulted in the creation of advanced tactile gloves that allow the wearer to feel almost as if it were a reality. In fact, this realism is almost the last step in connecting the virtual world with reality.
As this technology continues to be mastered, the applications remain endless. In terms of education, this technology will enable quality education, not limited by the limits of physical resources or proximity. The virtual world will also allow for more collaboration. Due to the realism that AR and VR enable, it will soon be possible for professionals to interact with each other and with patients in real time, possibly even being able to perform procedures or physical examinations as appropriate. Some of this collaborative work is already being done using Microsoft’s Hololens platform, one of the most powerful AR/VR systems in the world.
What are the negatives? On the other hand, increasing dependence on technology always leads to weakness. How will developers ensure security and privacy as patient data is increasingly moved digitally and in the cloud? Furthermore, health care is by definition a humanitarian profession. By replacing physical reality with virtual and augmented reality technology, is the healthcare field doing itself a disservice in terms of eliminating the personal aspect of the doctor-patient relationship?
In fact, there are still many things that are not fully resolved regarding this technology, including its safety, privacy, and efficacy in relation to patient care. However, if done correctly and safely, it has the potential to transform the next generation of healthcare.