Augmented reality (AR) adds a layer of computer-generated imagery over the real world in the form of data, information, infographics, images or graphics. It’s revolutionizing e-learning as an industry, but nowhere more so than in healthcare.
The overlay of interactive imagery makes it easier for learners to grasp complex information. Since AR adds a layer of computer-generated imagery over the real world, in real-time, there are several circumstances where it is more useful than virtual reality, which only uses the virtual world for communication. This is especially true in the healthcare sector, where so much happens just beneath the surface. An AR application that helps healthcare learners visualize the musculoskeletal system, for example, could add the bones and muscles as an overlay over a real human being, cadaver or model. This provides additional insight and helps carry out tasks in the real world.
AR has widespread application in the fields of medical education, training and surgical planning. If used right, it can accelerate improved learning processes for healthcare providers, students, patients and other stakeholders.
1. AR in Surgery
AR visualization in image-guided neurosurgery (IGNS) allows surgeons to see a layer of imaging rendered from preoperative medical datasets gathered from a navigation system (such as MRI/CT), merged with the surgical field of view. This helps guide precision during critical and complex surgeries such as cataract and other ophthalmological procedures.
New surgeons and healthcare students can use AR to better visualize entire surgical procedures without working on cadavers. This simplifies practice and helps training.
2. AR in Theoretical Training
The overlay of virtual images and data over real objects helps improve understanding of those objects. With the right graphics set, AR is a great advantage to medical training in the classroom.
For instance, loading graphics of the circulatory system into the application would help the learner visualize every artery and vein present in the human body in a three-dimensional view.
AR can be used to demonstrate symptoms for easy visualization as well. For example, if a student needs to learn the difference in nature of pain between a headache caused by stress and one caused by a migraine, a visual overlay could help the learner understand better. This is even more useful to patients and laypeople who are attempting to explain their symptoms to healthcare professionals but may not understand the difference verbally between a radiating pain and a shooting pain, for example.
AR makes for great collateral in classroom or online training, and can effectively replace textbooks and other more traditional training materials.
3. AR in Pharmaceuticals:
AR can be used to train healthcare providers and patients on usage of drugs and medical equipment. This can be used to replace bulky product collateral.
With the right graphics and AR application, augmented reality can be used to provide essential drug information and visualize the working of drugs within the human body, in 3D.
AR can also be leveraged effectively to train lay users of home medical devices (such as a home dialysis machine, for example) on usage and dos and don’ts.
A recent study found that over 50% of physicians would want to use AR to learn about new diseases and treatments. Perhaps that’s why the global “AR in Healthcare” market size was valued at $609.60 Million in 2018 and is projected to reach $4,237.60 Million by 2026.
The scope to use Augmented Reality in training is immense, especially in fields where visual aids for complex topics would be useful. To make your e-learning content more engaging and more effective at achieving learning outcomes, allow us to help you harness the latest technology in the industry. Let us work together to make your content suitable for AR application. Contact our experts today.