Augmented Reality Medical Application

March 22, 2016

Dave Kruse

Uncategorized

In this post we take a look at how augmented reality could work in the healthcare world.

This is another post on augmented reality. I find these posts more fun to write than the project management posts. I can’t imagine why. Augmented reality will change how we interact with technology. Maybe that’s why.

This post is on a specific augmented reality idea. This idea is not rocket science. I actually think it’s a fairly well documented idea. But I don’t know anyone actually doing it.

The idea is to arm healthcare workers with real-time augmented reality support. For example, say a nurse in a rural town in Wisconsin or a village in Senegal is wondering about a specific medical condition. Maybe the patient has a lot of small bruises on their legs or something. And let’s say the nurse is not able diagnosis the issue.

So he/she straps on the augmented reality glasses, and connects with a doctor or other colleague. Now the doctor can see everything the nurse can see. The doctor can also draw and point to areas that the nurse will see via the glasses. It’s like having the doctor in the room, almost, or the next best thing.

The doctor can have the nurse go through a number of steps to help diagnose the condition. If the doctor is unsure, then they can refer to another doctor.

This could revolutionize how healthcare is delivered, especially to rural or hard to reach places. Of course you’ll still need internet access which will be an issue in many rural places in Africa, but even that is coming.

This diagnosis could also be saved and catalogued so the next time someone has small bruises on the legs, the nurse can search for that and see the video. Ideally these learnings would be shared with everyone across the world. That’s easier said than done. The identity of the patient would of course have to be anonymized, but can you imagine having access to tens of thousands of these videos. That’s powerful.

This use case could of course be applied to other areas where experts would be needed: home maintenance, art, engineering, etc. This augmented reality technology could unleash the power of people across the world. One of the limitations will be the experts’ time. There are only so many hours in the day. That is why it is important to save and properly catalog valuable learnings. That’s tough. Who is going to do that and why?

What would be the best starting point for this medical augment reality app? I’m not sure. I think a rural place in the US would be a good starting point. They should have wifi. And those small community clinics often lack the expertise around certain cases. Often those patients need to travel to larger cities to be seen. Could augmented reality help? Maybe.

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