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    Five healthcare technologies likely to be developed in the next 10 years


    5. Virtual reality

    The daily use of virtual and augmented reality with practitioners is coming within the next 10 years, says Samit.

    “If the engine is artificial intelligence and blockchain, augmented and virtual reality are the interfaces that make the technology accessible,” Samit says.

    “I don’t imagine a world where a doctor is sitting at his desk doing all of this,” he says. Instead, he predicts that physicians will use more virtual reality, for example, wearing a pair of glasses that captures the encounter and ensures compliance, record keeping, and patient privacy.

    “Augmented reality glasses can be worn by doctors and someone can listen in on their meetings and take notes. At the end of their rounds, everything is typed up, medications are noted, conflicts have been researched, questions have been answered. Everyone on the care team will have the latest and greatest knowledge, and it helps the doctor be more educated,” Samit says.

    In fact, Samit thinks glasses and holographic technology could flood the healthcare market within the next two years, due to its efficiency and the better health outcomes produced.

    Augmented and virtual reality technology can also be used in operations where the surgeon is in another location guiding robotics to perform surgeries. It can also be used in the operating room as surgeons wear headgear and glasses that can show 3D images of a patient’s tumor to be removed.

    “Today, we are seeing great imaging, but it is useless to see 2-dimensional images when you can see 3-dimensional images hovering above your patient in the operating room,” Samit says.

    Another use for virtual reality: combatting the opioid epidemic. Samit calls this use for it “mechanized medication,” citing studies that assert that patients who are distracted from their pain using virtual reality leave hospitals sooner and have less use for pain medication. A 2016 study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that patients experience 24% less pain within 10 minutes of viewing virtual reality experiences including ocean exploration, Cirque du Soleil, and tours of Iceland.

    Donna Marbury is a writer in Columbus, Ohio.



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