Will Doctors Soon Conduct AR-Assisted Surgeries? [Future Of Health]

Physicians are experimenting with the use of heads-up displays and augmented visualization techniques to assist them during operations and exams.

According to Juniper Research, the mobile Augmented Reality market, is set to increase dramatically from 60 million unique users in 2013 to nearly 200 million in 2018. Not only is this technology impacting consumer applications like marketing and entertainment, but it is developing more utilitarian uses inside the healthcare sector, where it has the potential to change the face of the operating room. Augmented reality is giving doctors and surgeons greater access to on-hand information, in order to help with their daily tasks and serve as a guide for more complex procedures.

As part of this change, physicians are experimenting with the use of heads-up displays and augmented visualization techniques to assist them during patient consultations, exams and surgeries. These technologies offer a more complete view inside their patients, improving surgeons’ ability to map out their procedures and avoid life-threatening complications. This development is part of a trend PSFK Labs is calling OR Overlay in our latest Future of Health report.

Digital cadaver table puts surgeons at cutting edge

Already we’re seeing wearable technologies like Google Glass being used to transmit images during lives surgeries or sophisticated projection tools being integrated into the training of medical students, but when this information becomes accessible in real-time, without impacting a doctor’s line of sight, it has the ability to be truly revolutionary. In our conversation with Frank Ball, CEO of Evena Medical, he explained, “We believe there will come a time, as technology evolves, when physicians, general practitioners, will be able to not only quickly see remote images or information, but be able to view connected information sources together. Where diagnostics will be completed and beamed to the physician with remote visuals.”

As brands and healthcare providers look to develop OR Overlay tools and techniques, the PSFK Labs’ team suggests considering the following questions:

  • What imaging tools can be implemented at scale to aid doctors in examining remote patients, e.g. infrared to monitor temperatures?
  • How can augmented reality be used to enrich the learning experience for healthcare students and professionals?
  • How can holographic imagery be used to help doctors prepare, practice or even perform surgeries?
  • In what new ways can information be presented and accessed by doctors to enable them to focus on their patients during exams and consultations?
  • How can these technologies be used to share innovative practices, research or procedures with the medical community for feedback, input or added perspective?
  • How can AR technologies be used to assist less-trained, remote healthcare workers as they meet with patients?
  • How can access to shared displays help dispersed healthcare teams better collaborate during live procedures?

With the help of our partner Boehringer IngelheimPSFK Labs has released the latest Future of Health Report, which highlights the four major themes and 13 emerging trends shaping the evolving global landscape of healthcare. To see more insights and thoughts on the Future of Health visit the PSFK page.

Contributed by: Andrew Vaterlaus-Staby

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