Time to reshape the digital healthcare domain Leave a comment

Time to reshape the digital healthcare domainby Sairam Vedam

The last two years have changed the trajectory of digital transformation of various industries, more so for industries that witnessed high demand owing to the COVID-Crisis such as Healthcare, Medical Devices, pharmaceuticals etc. Customer engagement and experience remained two crucial parameters during the pandemic, however, due to restricted movement and access, the tech and digital ecosystem had to act as a proxy and provide for this huge gap in the Healthcare space. This is where the role of Virtualization and tech disruptions such as Extended Reality and Augmented Reality played a huge role in delivering an almost real-like experience to the end customers.

As per a recent IBEF report, the Healthcare industry in India is expected to reach US$372 by the end of FY 2022. That’s a huge potential growth space to explore and incentivize the use of innovative tools and the latest technologies. The utilization of AR, VR and ER is quite at its nascent stage in India, including in the healthcare space. However, taking cues from the global markets, tools such as ER & AR have huge potential and still have a long way to go in markets such as ours.

Extended Reality (XR) tools today are being deployed in self-care (Telemedicine tools), surgical procedures and implementations and various other aspects of user experience are being impacted by this ecosystem.

Some of the trends and highlights of how XR, along with Robotics, IoT, AI, and ML, is shaping the new-age medical and healthcare ecosystems are:

  • XR is making huge leaps and wavelengths in Learning & Development: Embedded tools for extended reality technologies such as AR & VR provide an unparalleled learning experience for aspiring medical students, doctors, lab assistants etc. Today Universities use AR and VR to improve the Learning Experience (LE) with the use of anatomical holographs. These enable students to learn about the composition of the human body by seeing and interacting with a 3D model superimposed onto the real world. Moreover, research suggests that immersive technologies can produce better knowledge retention compared with tablets or computer screens.
  • XR acts as a precision tool during complicated surgeries and procedures: Many hospitals around the world have acknowledged the value of XR tools and have seamlessly implemented them towards the development of high-precision surgeries and procedures. Recently, this technology has been used in reconstructive procedures. Specifically, Dr Dimitri Amiras of Imperial College Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust used this technology for ensuring precision during a leg reconstruction operation. Dr Amiras described how his team had generated a 3D model of their patient’s leg from an imaging scan which showed them the patient’s veins and arteries and guided the operation.
  • XR has shown huge potential towards improving overall well-being: Technology disruptions and Innovations such as Wearables, AI coupled with XR today focus on simulating real-life experiences for customers and creating environments that focus on stimulating mental and physical growth. For Instance, a plethora of meditation apps have sprung up to help people meditate and de-stress, often using relaxing sounds and guided instructions. Now, some of these solutions are incorporating VR to make guided meditations more immersive.
  • Robotics is transforming healthcare through AI-enabled computer vision and data analytics: Robots are increasingly being utilized to support health personnel and improve patient care in a range of situations, including operating rooms and clinical settings. As a result, human-treatment-focused robots, such as surgical and rehabilitation robots, have emerged. Assistive and therapeutic robotic devices are also fast growing in popularity. These include robots that aid in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from major illnesses such as strokes, as well as empathetic robots that aid in the care of the elderly and physically/mentally challenged. Sterilizing rooms and transporting medical supplies and equipment, including medications, are just a few of the jobs that industrial robots perform. It’s become evident that health robotics’ operational savings and risk reduction give benefits in a variety of areas.
  • IoT is redefining the space of devices and patient interaction: Connected medical devices are enhancing the patient experience with simple monitoring and reporting capabilities to the next level. Patients have access to personalized attention through wearable gadgets such as fitness bands and other wirelessly connected devices such as blood pressure and heart rate monitoring cuffs, glucometers, and so on. Physicians can keep a better check of their patients’ health by employing wearables and other IoT-enabled home monitoring kits. Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, oxygen pumps, nebulizers, and others are tracked in real-time using IoT devices with sensors. Smartwatches enable users to receive healthcare data continuously without the help of any additional hardware.

  • AI and ML are changing the landscape of Medical Devices: Manufacturers of medical devices are incorporating AI and ML technologies into their products to help healthcare providers and improve patient care. One of the most significant advantages of AI/ML in software is its ability to learn from real-world use and experience, as well as its potential to improve performance. While medical devices are critical for patient care as they directly impact human lives by providing vital data and opinions derived by using them, software glitches may trigger several risks to medical devices and patients’ wellbeing. Insufficient software testing may cause the breach of patients’ confidential health information, thereby failing to comply with various health regulations. Medical Device testing is all about ensuring the product’s software and devices are fully compatible and compliant with several regulations and functionality.

To summarize, the purview and potential of XR is quite tremendous, especially in the healthcare and medical industry. However, the industry is still at its nascent stage, and for this tech to evolve and grow, many aspects of other technology need to be streamlined on the same wavelength. Marrying XR and AR with other tech innovations such as wearables, AI, Data Analytics is a huge game-changer and will shape the next decade of Digital Health for the country as well as the globe.Digital assurance capabilities should be tailored to cater to the companies working in the areas of Internet of Medical things (IoMT), AI-assisted robotic surgeries, AR, VR and XR integrated high precision camera technologies. Such companies and their products when backed with precision centric digital assurance capabilities will assure safer, better, and increased human life coverage. This can even help lead Medtech and IoMT companies bring disruptive Medtech devices and apps which are FDA compliant in the US and also meet other global medtech and health industry norms which are very strict to adher to.

Sairam Vedam, CMO Cigniti Technologies

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)


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