The medical vertical has one of the most important and practical applications of AR and VR such as helping doctors to conduct surgeries effectively, improving fitness, and teaching complex subjects to medical students.
According to a recent study from IndustryARC, the global market value of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality was around $1.2 Billion in 2014, where “Dental Simulator” based on virtual reality is the dominant segment among healthcare applications, generating revenue of $223 million in 2014. Dental stimulator provides three dimensional models of the human oral cavity and teeth and is creating huge market for the Virtual reality applications. Robotic surgery is the fastest growing market, moving at a CAGR of 40.2% followed by virtual rehabilitation segment, growing at a CAGR of 27.4%. Robotic surgery market is expected to increase in future due to increase in safety, efficacy and rise in minimal invasive procedures.
Google glass and the Oculus Rift VR are the most popular AR based products currently in the market. Both of which have tremendous application potential in the healthcare industry. Hologic in collaboration with VirtaMed recently launched a virtual reality simulator for the Myosure procedure, an incision less system for removal of intrauterine tissue. WorldViz also launched a product with full scale immersive 3D virtual patient room simulation!
Augmented reality apps are being used in the healthcare industry for various applications like surgical pre-operation assessment, medical simulation, minimally invasive surgery and rehabilitation. These applications and use cases are well documented and commercialized. Similarly virtual reality is also being used in the healthcare industry for applications like fully immersive 3D simulation experience for doctors, nurses, as a diagnostics tool, in surgery, phobia treatments, PTSD,autism treatments and dentistry etc.
How Can Augmented Reality Benefit Patients?
For patients, Augmented Reality can significantly improve the quality of treatment they receive from their healthcare provider. For starters, the risks associated with minimally invasive surgery (which involves making a small incision in the patient’s skin and inserting medical instruments) can be reduced by keeping the most important information front and centre for the surgeon.
Where previously this type of surgery required monitors in the operating room to display vital statistics and images being delivered by an endoscopic camera, thanks to AR a surgeon can now wear smart glasses during the procedure and stay focused on the task at hand, therefore minimizing mistakes and reducing the need to multitask more than is perhaps necessary.