Augmented reality in medicine offers a completely new perspective on how things must happen. From efficient trials to AR-based applications that can help to monitor patients’ condition and vitals in real-time, medicine could be witnessing one of its biggest changes in decades.  

The worldwide market share of AR in healthcare is projected to become 4.2 billion USD by 2026 from just 610 million in 2018. This humongous growth will likely bring miraculous changes to how the Medical world operates now. Let us look at some of the developments that are already transforming the sector for good.

Augmented Reality and its Impact in Medicine

By adding fascinating digital elements, Augmented reality (AR) is simplifying many aspects of medicine. Thus, today, AR offers innovative solutions to reimagine education, surgery, patient care, and medical imaging in a whole new way, surpassing the best results possible with traditional methods.

While augmented reality and medicine is still in its early stages, it has huge potential. For example, complex anatomy can be depicted in 3D above a patient’s body, allowing surgeons to use information from usually hidden structures in the body via gestures. Augmented Reality medical training provides immersive exposure to pathologies and realistic procedures. Patients undergoing physical therapy can view digital demonstrations of exercises tailored to their specific needs. The common thread in these applications of AR is that they help to improve human experience and biology through hybrid augmented environments. 

Biggest AR Trends in Medicine

These are some of the biggest augmented reality medical applications where AR is put to good use, simplifying medical procedures and training, among others. Let us have a look: 

Medicine Education

Augmented reality in medical education can provide unforgettable immersive, simulated training experiences. It can be handy in medicine. It allows students to visualize experiments in AR simulations and anatomical structures in 3D and practice other complex procedures. Learning and practicing clinical exams on 3D models of patients and engaging in realistic simulations of complex cases and medicinal effects are an advantage over and above traditional learning. 

Clinical Trials  

AR can overlay patient-specific anatomical diagrams, vital signs, and notes directly into physicians’ fields of vision while conducting a clinical trial for an important medicine. It reduces the severity of the danger that the patients are likely to face while increasing the chance of finding the problems faster and more efficiently, leading to a huge boost in the success rates of clinical trials.

Medicine Treatment Methods

For medicine-based treatment methods, most professionals rely on trying and revising methods. This method is long and resource-draining. With AR models, personalized treatment methods and courses can be formulated, increasing the rate of success. It will also help reduce the time for treatment.  

Self-Care medicine instruction

For wound management, AR apps can track and log wound healing progress. It can effectively report vital statuses, like the effect of medicine over time. Patients can share this documentation with their providers and seek additional help when required. AR also provides interactive self-care instructions, which patients can visualize on their bodies, boosting care technique.

Augmented Reality in the Operating Room

AR view in the operating room provides surgeons with overlaid navigation guidance, critical anatomy details, and text or audio feedback during surgeries. This surgical AR improves accuracy, efficiency, and safety during complex, minimally invasive procedures. Augmented views of the surgical site can also be shared with trainees for educational purposes. 

Real-Life Examples

Some of the best examples of how AR-based medical applications include the following:

Augmented reality in the clinic

Doctors could be using AR in their clinics to visualize patient information, data, and reports. They could see even pictorial and 3D animation for associated symptoms. They could use AR to demonstrate possible treatments and cures that go behind proposed medication and much more.

Medical Imaging

Augmented reality is transforming surgical visualization and navigation by providing surgeons with “X-ray vision” of subsurface structures before making incisions. AR surgical platforms track organ motions and deformations in real time, updating the augmented overlays dynamically.  

Vein Visualization

Augmented reality technology offers a solution for difficult intravenous lines and blood drawing procedures. Using handheld vein visualization devices, near-infrared imaging, and AR projection, the technology can detect subcutaneous veins. It can then overlay their exact location onto the skin in real-time, improving first-stick success rates. Studies have shown that AR-assisted vein visualization boosts first-stick IV placement success by over 3.5 times compared to traditional methods.

Accurate Symptom Detection

Accurately describing visual symptoms to an ophthalmologist can prove challenging for many patients. Some may overstate or understate their issues, making it difficult for doctors to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. It can be solved using new augmented reality (AR) technologies that offer an innovative approach to enhancing patient education in eye care.

One example is Oculenz, an application designed for those experiencing central vision loss. Using Oculenz, physicians can provide interactive simulations to help patients understand what vision with a given condition is really like.

Patient Self-care 

Augmented reality helps patients with physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Patients can view digital demonstrations of exercises overlayed on their bodies in real time. AR also aids in navigation by enabling patients to view information about nearby medical facilities. Innovative self-care apps utilize AR for patient education and disease management. For example, “Know My Heart” is a software that guides individuals through self-checking their pulse rhythm to screen for atrial fibrillation.

What Does the Future Look Like for Augmented Reality in Medicine?

The growth of augmented reality in healthcare signals how rapidly the technology is transitioning from novelty to necessity. Other statistics reveal how analysts project the AR-enabled Internet of Medical Things market will surge from $1 billion in 2021 to $20-30 billion by 2025 and $40-90 billion by 2030. Overall AR market value is estimated to multiply 10x from $42.2 billion in 2022 to over $1 trillion by 2030. 

While this is a conservative projection, there is a huge chance that the real number will far surpass it. With the increasing use of augmented reality in the medical field, new technologies to help in developing medicine will come up. We already have medical imaging, AR-based clinical trials, and more right now. However, they are just the tip of the iceberg as the technology matures. 

For AR in medicine, Surgical applications, medical education, and rehabilitation training are among the most popular uses today. As AR adoption accelerates, it will be empowering and provide more means to stakeholders in the medicine business with new ways to learn, engage, and self-manage while optimizing clinician workflows and skills. And if you are looking to add AR to your medicine business, consider PlugXR Platform. You can add AR to all of your workflow by creating projects without coding! Book a demo to learn more.


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