With AR-VR applications in healthcare likely to grow and evolve over the coming years, we have to move with the change by continuously adopting and learning new technologies, in an agile and fail-fast way. This is such a fast changing market, and it will only continue to change, which presents a big challenge to healthcare providers.
Firstly, building the real time computing engine required for AR/VR capabilities requires a high performance computing infrastructure. We need to prepare our platforms for these real time, high speed (4D) data applications, a challenge not only for hospitals but also for other healthcare settings such as the home or the GP’s surgery. New applications, such as ‘over the shoulder support’ from remote experts will also require new communication protocols such as 5G and cloud computing.
Healthcare is typically very slow in adopting to innovation. In the new era of IoMT and digital innovation we will see much faster waves of innovation which begs the question: how do we prepare healthcare systems on the high innovation speed of the gaming world on which AR-VR has evolved? How do we prepare IT architectures and platforms for the easy adoption of the latest and greatest AR/ VR has to offer?
These are questions that we are busy answering, working in an ecosystem with our clinical, university and industry partners. Philips is much more a software company than most people realize. More and more, we augment our systems and devices with ‘smartness’ powered by software and unleashed by connectivity. The goal is to reach a level whereby 3D visualization and 3D interactions, enabled by AR-VR technology, become more feasible and affordable in healthcare not just as an sexy technology, but one that has proven impact and is seamlessly integrated in the delivery of quality patient-centric care.
The mouse got us quite a long way in our relationship with technology, but the next great leap is well underway. Healthcare’s future is going to be more visual, more immersive and more interactive and while there are many steps to be taken before AR-VR technology becomes integrated into daily clinical practice, it will eventually be incremental in the standard care that we receive in the future.