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Healthcare to look at Metaverse applications for visual-sensory experience in treatment and recovery

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Tuesday, March 21, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Healthcare providers are exploring Metaverse applications to provide a visual-sensory experience in treatment and recovery. Metaverse improves patient outcomes and will become a game changer in the healthcare system.

The new technology can treat Post Trauma Stress Disorder (PTSD) through simulation where the person discovers his real personality traits and modifies his behaviour, thoughts and emotions to bring in change. It helps manage opium addiction for chronic pain, rehabilitation post stroke and other neurological conditions. Further, it allows patients to share experiences and have first-hand information about recoveries.

Now, Metaverse’s potential in healthcare will be evident when seen in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, the internet of medical devices, edge & quantum computing, and robotics. For instance, precision surgery using a robotic arm at the patient’s location can be controlled by the surgeon 1,000 miles away by using Virtual Reality (VR). Two or more experts can simultaneously take decisions, Shouvik Mazumdar, head of immersive technology and experience, Ascendion told Pharmabiz.

Blockchain, an integral part of Metaverse, is vital in patient data management, handling clinical trial data ensuring total data security, privacy and tracking ownership of data, he added.

The global Metaverse healthcare market was valued at $6.57 billion in 2022 and it is expected to grow at a 35.4% CAGR during 2023-2031. It is predicted to reach $71.6 billion by 2030.

Metaverse will help develop virtual hospitals where patient triage can be simulated. Telehealth specialists can analyse patients in a photo-real environment and accurately diagnose. Geographical boundaries will collapse and hospitals can effectively manage loads. Consumer-grade electronics will mature to enable precise imaging at home to be mapped to a 3D version for accurate translation. Early versions are out but we are still a decade away from the consumerisation and maturity, said Mazumdar.

In medical education too, Metaverse can simulate procedures, concepts, dynamic situations and chaos during emergencies. Training on Metaverse is already happening. With Internet of Medical Things, it will create a sustainable digital twin for remote monitoring, fault prediction, remote assistance for repair and maintenance and acceptance testing. This will optimise costs and help save lives.

Using AR and AI-based computer vision, the patient can self-diagnose at home like detecting skin conditions and identifying and measuring moles, lumps, and patches. This not only cuts the number of doctor visits, but gives convenience. While AI helps early detection, AR aids measurement, tracking and managing the prognosis.

An MRI scan be converted into a precise 3D model and AR can simulate medical device fitment on it to plan surgeries and improve its precision. VR can be used in training, simulations and patient education for nursing staff and healthcare professionals on how to perform a procedure and manage patient outcomes, especially in terminally patients. At the same time, VR can be used to educate the patient on the impact of drugs and see life after treatment to either sensitise the outcome or convince them to go ahead with the procedure.

Ascendion with AscendVerse acts as an accelerator to develop Metaverse solutions for healthcare. This brings reusable techniques like multiplayer collaboration, raw data to 3D conversion, Immersive world creation, IoT integration, common training patterns to build any use case 30-40% faster. From creating Digital Twins for OHS (occupation health and safety) training to planning a hospital layout, AscendVerse also strengthens our research with Metaverse’s therapeutic capability. We expect to put it to a field test shortly, said Mazumdar.


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