The metaverse is emerging as a transformative force, promising to change the way medical professionals operate and train according to an expert panel during MEDICA 2023.
One of the primary areas where the metaverse is making waves is in medical training. Virtual reality simulations within the metaverse allow medical students and professionals to practice surgeries, diagnostic procedures, and patient interactions in a realistic and risk-free environment. The immersive training not only enhances the skills of healthcare practitioners but also addresses challenges related to accessibility and resource limitations in traditional medical education.
Vladimir Puhalac, CEO of XRhuman, an avatar as-a-services platform for realistic and interactive virtual b2b environments gave a demonstration of what the Metaverse hub for healthcare could potentially look like. He gave the audience a virtual tour showcasing the tools medical professionals could use to train. He also explained how the virtual environment could be used to hold meetings within the hub keeping trainings and communications in one place.
He spoke about developing digital twins such as imaging devices within the metaverse. These proposed twins will be connected by the cloud to real time devices allowing you to do your maintenance and support.
After the panel Puhalac said: “I strongly believe internet of things (IoT) will play a huge role in the metaverse, such as having imaging devices and hardware devices becoming a digital twin. Where you can do your maintenance cycles because the virtual world and digital world will be connected over the cloud. You can measure by sensors, vibrations, and the temperature of devices similar to what you can do in the industry world.”
It can also facilitate collaborative healthcare efforts on a global scale. Healthcare professionals from different parts of the world can come together in virtual spaces to discuss complex cases, share insights, and collaborate on research projects. This connectivity has the potential to accelerate medical advancements and improve patient outcomes by leveraging collective expertise.
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Puhalac added: “I strongly believe that patient data will be very interesting for physicians and experts around the world. Because using those digital twin data’s to treat and help patients will be important in the metaverse.”
“You can create scripted simulations, so a patient has certain symptoms and reactions. The trainee or nurse the needs to walk through these structures like in a game and you get experience of such a scenario with being in the physical world.”
In addition to training and telemedicine, the metaverse is influencing wellness and rehabilitation. Virtual reality therapies within the metaverse are being explored for mental health treatments, pain management, and rehabilitation exercises. Patients can engage in therapeutic activities within a virtual environment, enhancing the effectiveness of treatment and providing a novel approach to traditional healthcare practices.
The panel did warn that the integration of the metaverse into healthcare is not without challenges. Concerns related to data privacy, security, and the equitable distribution of virtual healthcare resources need to be addressed to ensure the responsible and ethical use of this technology.