virtualization in healthcare; Why is it important?

introduction
Industry shift towards virtualization and digitization
New technologies that enable virtualization
Benefits of virtualization technologies in healthcare
The value of a virtual presence
expanded reality
healthcare benefits
‘Nixi for children’
“I’m getting a transplant”
Final Thoughts
references


The transition of healthcare into a virtual environment is a global societal movement toward better and more convenient organization of a person’s medical care and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle.

Healthcare costs are increasing around the world, but full computerization is making those costs intelligent. Virtual hospitals, e-registration services, EHR, e-prescriptions, medical image archives, tele- and mobile medicine, and online customization of doctor’s prescriptions will allow patients and doctors to assess the tectonic shifts caused by healthcare virtualization.

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Industry shift towards virtualization and digitization

The development of digital technologies in medicine is one of the focal points worldwide. Numerous conferences, forums and platforms presenting the latest developments in healthcare, such as CPhI Worldwide, only confirm this. The perspectives for the use of digital information systems are comprehensive and diverse.

The systems of electronic appointment scheduling with subsequent reminders and transmission of the results to a smartphone that are already working today are advances in the field of Telemedicine, “clouds” for storing and processing information and the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry show the importance and need for further development of the field.

New technologies that enable virtualization

Augmented and virtual technologies are realities used in the creation of video games in the entertainment industry and are also actively used in other sectors, including healthcare.

Virtual medicine is part of telemedicine. The use of augmented and virtual reality gives new impetus to the development of medical informatics. Innovative projects in the field of digital health improve the interaction between doctor and patient.

Virtual and augmented reality can solve various tasks, such as B. gamification of medical education (shooting work games), medical rehabilitation, helping patients cope with trauma, reducing phobias, etc.

VR in the hospital

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Benefits of virtualization technologies in healthcare

Researchers have found that virtual reality (VR) can create a natural environment for a patient to experience the effects of telepresence. The effect of telepresence means that the patient can see, hear, feel and other senses during the treatment.

Essentially, there is a sense of complete presence in an artificially modeled three-dimensional digital world.

The telepresence effect is an umbrella term that encompasses touch, vibrancy, and interactivity. Sensory liveliness refers to the representative richness of the mediated environment, sensory depth and breadth (perception goes directly to multiple sense organs).

Interactivity refers to the speed, range and reach of the display, the extent to which users can participate in changing the form and content mediated environment in real time.

This means that the patient can manipulate the content at their own discretion in relation to the environment and the actions performed by the characters on the carrier. When virtualization capabilities, including speed, range, and mapping, are poorly designed, the patient may feel disconnected from the virtual experience.

The value of a virtual presence

Another important aspect of virtualization in healthcare is the sense of involvement: the livelier and more interactive the environment, the stronger that environment creates a sense of presence.

Content Manipulation Multimedia is most successful in creating a sense of telepresence when multimedia is indirectly connected to the user’s body. This creates an effective environment for acquiring new user experiences that can be used successfully in healthcare.

expanded reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that overlays sensory information generated by a computer in text, audio, or computer graphics onto physical objects. The image is thus simulated in real time using technical means.

This technology creates an environment where virtual objects are combined with reality, bringing computer-generated objects into the real one using image settings on glasses, virtual reality helmets or special tactile devices (haptics), which can be gloves, collars, suits World to be integrated, or sensors.

expanded reality

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healthcare benefits

Augmented Reality offers an alternative to traditional forms of human-machine interaction. It facilitates access to certain technologies for patient groups with special needs, such as people with disabilities, the elderly and children, and improves their quality of life.

Therefore, it is crucial in pediatric care that children feel comfortable during medical procedures and tests. Augmented reality technologies with gamification help children engage in games that stimulate physical activity or reduce anxiety.

For example, such projects on the use of augmented reality in pediatrics as “Nixi for children” or “I’m getting a transplant” have proven their worth, the main purpose of which is to inform and calm young patients before operations in order to reduce their level of anxiety.

‘Nixi for children’

The Nixi for Kids project aims to reduce preoperative anxiety in children. To do this, children use a VR device that allows them to watch immersive 360° videos that explain all the procedures of the operation and their impact on their health.

“I’m getting a transplant”

The I’m Having a Transplant app explains to young patients what a bone marrow transplant is and the steps involved so that they can better understand the process they are undergoing. This application contains a fairy tale, a video and three children’s games.

child in VR

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Final Thoughts

In recent years, virtual and augmented reality systems have become more personalised, wearable, better real-time oriented and offer a more realistic user experience by adding visual, tactile and sensory elements to the spectrum of sensations.

In addition, such devices are becoming increasingly popular and accessible to patients and healthcare professionals. VR and AR technologies are successfully used in medical education or training of stroke rehabilitation patients who need improved cognitive skills, language and memory. These virtualization technologies can also reduce the cost of training and medical rehabilitation, further cementing the importance of virtualization in healthcare.

References:

  • Nixi for children. Available at: https://nixiforchildren.com. Retrieved February 18, 2022.
  • Ma, Minhua; C Jain, Lakhmi; Andersen, Paul (2014). Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1. Springer Publishing.
  • Bukhari, Hatim; Andreatta, Pamela; Goldiez, Brian; Rabelo, Luis (January 2017). “A Framework for Determining the Return on Investment of Simulation-Based Training in Healthcare”. INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine. Patient care: defining tertiary care. Archived 2017-07-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  • Christensen, L.R.; Gronvall, E. (2011). “Challenges and Opportunities for Collaborative Technologies for Homecare Work”. In S. Bodker; NO Bouvin; W letters; V. Wulf; L. Ciolfi (ed.). ECSCW 2011: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 24-28. September 2011, Aarhus, Denmark.

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