Metaverse in Healthcare

The metaverse is taking socialising to new heights, with a market worth USD 800 billion expected by 2024. In the US, more than 74% of adults have registered or are thinking about joining this online community. The potential impact of the metaverse on gaming, entertainment, socialising, employment, and commerce has been considered by a number of industry experts. The potential impact on healthcare hasn't received much attention, though.

Three significant technological trends, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) converge in the metaverse (VR). Together, they can create entirely new avenues for treating patients, bringing down costs, and vastly enhancing patient outcomes. The 3 major channels driving the usage of the metaverse in healthcare are listed below.


  1. Telemedicine

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 43% of health centers could provide patients with remote therapy. This is when the usage of telemedicine really took off. That proportion has now increased to 95%. With the help of Metaverse, telemedicine sessions will be supplemented by a virtual office where patients and doctors can consult in a 3D clinic or any other setting.

The customer experience for teleconsultation services is anticipated to considerably improve as a result. By offering a significantly better sense of "being there" than other virtual worlds like websites, messaging apps, or social media, the metaverse in healthcare can allow next-level immersion via VR. Patients will no longer be constrained to receiving treatment from particular doctors according to their geographic location through such consultations. It is especially useful for patients in remote locations who would otherwise have to travel a considerable distance to see a doctor as well as in countries like China where medical professionals are in short supply.

Another area of healthcare where the virtual world can be quite useful is therapy. In safe settings where every aspect of the contact can be carefully watched and managed, patients can engage with situations that make them anxious. Using digital treatments, or DTx, a type of medical technology, game change, a VR system created by Dr. Daniel Freeman and his associates at the University of Oxford, is, for example, using VR to treat psychosis.


  1. Blockchain

According to analysts, blockchain is a crucial component of the metaverse in the field of healthcare since it enables decentralised communities managed democratically through smart contracts and a record of digital "ownership" of surroundings or even things in the virtual world. The most well-known application of blockchain in healthcare is the administration and protection of our extremely precious health data.

Currently, data is regularly transmitted between numerous companies in a way that appears to the data's owners to be both inefficient and opaque. We are at risk of identity theft because most health records are kept on centralised systems. It also means that getting it can be a tiresome and time-consuming procedure, even for those who have a legitimate need for it, like a professional who is helping us.


  1. Digital twins

A digital twin is a virtual representation or simulation of any process, system, or item that is made utilising data from the real world to discover more about its actual counterpart. The patient's digital doppelganger might actually be the patient themselves in the metaverse.

Digital twins will soon be used as "test dummies" for humans, forecasting anything from how we will recuperate from surgery to how we would respond to specific medications, claims Jack Latus, CEO of Latus Health, an online healthcare service focused on occupational health. When we are better able to map and understand each person's genetic makeup, this will advance.

Imagine testing every medication for a patient's disease on a computerised version of that person. This will make it possible to choose the optimal course of action. It can even keep an eye on the virtual "person" and alert you if a medical concern arises as a result, allowing you to take preventive measures. Digital twins are a hot topic for many sizable medical technology firms, including Siemens Healthineers and GE Healthcare. These businesses will need essential resources, such as vast volumes of patient data, to succeed.


Future of Metaverse in Healthcare


Making Things Easier for Patients

Professionals will be able to offer more integrated treatment approaches and packages free from the siloed character of most of the existing healthcare system thanks to the convergence of these basic technologies in the metaverse. These technologically based solutions have already improved patient outcomes and experiences. They can be used to improve even routine procedures like intravenous injections and blood draws, for example, by employing Accuvein, a device that projects a mapping of a patient's veins onto the skin.

The AI-powered operational platform Digital Surgery was recently acquired by the med-tech behemoth Medtronic, while Zimmer Biomet unveiled their new OptiVu Mixed Reality system, which leverages the Microsoft HoloLens to combine the real and virtual worlds. The surgical environment will undergo a significant transition over the next few years as a result of the substantial investments being made in med-tech to take advantage of the metaverse and the rising number of entrepreneurs developing AR and VR solutions.


Facilitating Collaboration Among Healthcare Staff

It would be easier to identify the underlying causes of illness if medical practitioners could instantly communicate information with one another. Monitoring patient behaviour in the metaverse makes it simpler to keep track of factors like compliance, which will help with illness diagnosis and treatment.



In the coming years, it's possible that the healthcare metaverse will fundamentally transform and advance the sector. Despite the optimism, there are still a number of challenges standing in the way of the standardisation of the metaverse in healthcare, such as the deployment of advanced technologies, particularly by the elderly. In this new virtual environment, where patient health insurance, reimbursements, and prescription medications are all handled, healthcare organisations will also need to create a new business model.




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