The curious case of healthcare in Metaverse
Apr 6, 2023by, Maheswari C S
What has a hospital to do with the Metaverse?
Quite a lot actually.
With the Metaverse being called the next frontier to the internet and generating over 1 Trillion dollars in annual revenue, according to a report by Grayscale, it is only a matter of time before all businesses transition from reality to virtual reality.
Coming back to our question, how can healthcare flourish in the Metaverse market? Let’s explore!
Telemedicine has gained a lot of momentum lately. Earlier, just 43% of healthcare facilities could provide patients with remote therapy. It has now seen a significant increase to 95% after the Covid-19 pandemic. Taking this service to the Metaverse drastically increases its horizons. Patients can have a more in-person consultation with medical professionals in a 3D virtual setting. In addition to that, this can also transcend the barriers of geography to provide apt consultations to patients, especially to those in remote areas with a shortage of access to healthcare. All that is required is for the patient and the provider to have the right kind of equipment such as VR headsets for consultations across the globe.
Another area where healthcare can be quite useful in the metaverse is therapy. It holds the potential to radically change the way mental health care is provided to those with conditions such as psychosis, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, and delusions. In treatments for anxiety disorders like CBT and ERP, patients can be carefully watched and managed as they interact with situations that make them anxious in the most realistic way. Through its interactive features, the metaverse expands accessibility to therapy for those with disabilities.
For instance, gameChange, a virtual reality system at the University of Oxford, employs digital therapeutics or DTx to treat psychosis. In order to promote mental health in the metaverse, Dr. Lisa Cortez, often known as The Anxiety Dr., announced the release of Moody Minks in February 2022. Moody Mink Society is all set to hold the first META-tation center, which provides NFT holders access to support events hosted by the team.
Enhancing Medical Procedures and Medical Training
The usage of digital twins as “test dummies” for people can be utilized to forecast everything from how patients will recuperate from surgery to how they will react to different medications. With advancements in genetic mapping, these services can be taken to the next level. A computerized model of a single individual allows for the testing of all available treatments for that person’s condition to choose the ideal course of action.
Moreover, medical students and trainees can study the anatomy of the human body in a virtual reality environment. The metaverse offers nearly endless opportunities for problem-solving, developing creativity, and setting up learning environments. The Academy, a state-of-the-art learning facility run by the World Health Organization, has debuted a new training module that employs augmented reality to teach healthcare professionals how to be safe when working with COVID-19 patients. Implementing similar methods with the help of Metaverse allows students to learn by developing a first-hand experience.
Enhancing Data Security
Okay, so we have mentioned how Metaverse can enhance healthcare. But let us not forget that all these functions require massive amounts of patient data. It is hard to believe that most healthcare facilities still seek the help of a fax machine to transfer information. Not only that, the transfer of data between institutions appears to be both opaque and inefficient. The fact that most health records are kept on centralized computers increases the risk of theft. It can be a laborious and time-consuming process, even for professionals who are treating us, to obtain a significant amount of data with ease. This is where the application of Blockchain comes into place. With Web 3.0 being the foundation for the metaverse, it will be composed of decentralized applications that safeguard user-owned digital assets and data. It is also possible to keep track of the ownership of this data. The decentralized nature of Blockchain ensures the best way for data security.
How feasible is this at present?
Although Metaverse promises these advantages to the Healthcare sector, the actuality of the situation is that we are far from making it an instant reality. In order for one to use the Metaverse services, one requires access to these XR devices and must have fully functional bandwidth, which is still difficult to obtain in rural areas. A significant drawback at this point is that it is not practically possible to ask people to take the effort, time, and expenses required to get tech support merely for a consultation. In addition to that, the execution of healthcare facilities in the Metaverse is still in its infancy. Thus, it is easier to make use of other mediums of telemedicine such as online video conferencing platforms.
However, the path ahead is not completely dark and won’t remain dark for long, because tech-based companies are constantly developing new ways to navigate through and develop their services in the Metaverse, with Meta Platforms themselves thriving to do so. For instance, Unai specializes in developing headsets capable of making high-resolution, photorealistic metaverse more realistic. These headsets can track eye and facial movements to transcribe them to the digital twin, all in a way that is affordable to your everyday person. Healthcare institutions in most countries have already established a space for themselves in the Metaverse, for instance, Yashoda Hospitals in India. Currently, UAE-based healthcare company Thumbay Group is all set to launch its hospital in the Metaverse.
How can Dexlock help?
We, at Dexlock, have a stronghold in VR-related fields, with our team of competent professionals constantly trying to update ourselves with the latest technologies in the market. We keep our space for learning activities in order to implement next-generation ideas in our projects. Metaverse is one such domain where we are currently developing our expertise. Our mission is to help develop a futuristic world, for which we ensure the best services possible. Connect with us here.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Dexlock.