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Reimagining healthcare experiences in the metaverse

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As the Metaverse moves from hype to reality, organizations and individuals are excited to try out these cutting-edge technologies. Gartner predicts that by 2026, 1 in 4 people will spend at least an hour a day in the metaverse. By leveraging new technologies such as digital twins and edge computing, nearly a third of his organizations will have access to Metaverse-enabled products and services.

As the metaverse matures, new technologies are already reimagining how critical services such as healthcare work. While still in its early stages, it has the potential to redefine how healthcare services are delivered to patients. Especially in Australia, the burden on healthcare has never been more apparent.

The federal health minister has declared primary care “worse than the entire Medicare era” and has made it a top priority. The Metaverse has the potential to be the game-changer we need to ease our nation’s healthcare crisis. This convergence of technologies is creating a new environment where industries can accelerate learning, create collaborative experiences, and connect from anywhere.

Transforming the patient experience

People today are savvy consumers of digital content and social media. Can digital savvy be leveraged to help people manage their health without compromising the quality of care? The short answer? yes.

Patient-physician interactions have always been a hallmark of patient care and should continue to be so in the Metaverse. Through technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), we can improve patient health experiences and outcomes, as well as employee experiences in the Metaverse. In fact, his 81% of healthcare executives expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on the industry.

Traversing physical and digital spaces, the Metaverse enables collaboration and exchange of value through shared interactions and experiences. First, create a community. Not only can patients virtually check in with their loved ones, they can also connect with fellow patients experiencing similar health conditions. Second, the gamification aspect provided by the Metaverse can greatly increase patient and employee motivation to increase their knowledge and engagement.

More importantly, the metaverse creates presence. Using what Microsoft calls “holoportation,” the patient is projected as a hologram in front of the healthcare provider. This enables dialogue and even allows doctors to make diagnoses as if the patient were physically in the room. Of course, in the Metaverse, the digital twin could even be the patient himself. From understanding an individual’s response to medication to predicting recovery from surgery, the possibilities are endless. Due to the ease of interaction with physicians, this technology may prove important in managing patient expectations for health outcomes, pain management and patient satisfaction.

Deepen learning through experiential education

Healthcare professionals are constantly evolving and leveraging new technologies to provide advanced healthcare services to their patients. We see breakthroughs every day, and in recent memory the breakneck speed with which a COVID-19 vaccine was developed and deployed.

The healthcare opportunities offered by the Metaverse are immense. The Metaverse also unlocks a powerful platform that can be used to train clinicians, patients and families, regardless of location. Make your learning experience more engaging by creating a virtual human body and participating in a real-life simulation with a full-scale 360° view. This helps doctors prepare for surgery. Enhanced learning experiences improve interaction and aid in knowledge retention and key skill development.

As collaborations between healthcare providers and third-party companies increase, the Metaverse can act as a conduit to reduce the time required to bring essential life-saving innovations to the masses.

Healthcare from anywhere

The metaverse redefines remote operations. Allow humans to work from anywhere, continue collaborating with colleagues, and chat with patients. Plus, the patient can connect with key players in his journey from anywhere, from care teams to colleagues and, of course, patients.

Providers can create entire networks of cross-disciplinary medical professionals to provide advice on a variety of health conditions. Patients can even step into a virtual clinic to receive treatment or participate in a hybrid clinical trial. Similarly, disabled patients can easily see their doctor from the comfort of their own home.

There are still some hurdles to overcome before we can harness the potential of the metaverse, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this must be the future of healthcare. Being able to connect from anywhere in the world becomes important. By making the world a ‘smaller’ place, we can exchange best practices, solutions and innovations that save lives around the world.

Image credit: iStockphoto.com/Thinkhubstudio

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