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How VR and AR are Changing the Healthcare Landscape

28 Jan 2019

Imagine being able to look inside your body and see how a pain reliever can treat your headache or get a 360 degree view of how an elective knee surgery could change the way you walk.

It’s all possible with the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), a growing area in the healthcare field that will allow both the healthcare provider and the patient to make more informed decisions about care.

SoftCover VR is at the forefront of this innovative technology, creating cutting-edge virtual and augmented reality solutions for clients in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

“Most healthcare companies are becoming tech companies as there’s so much value in big data and technical devices and the web is just a great platform to deliver that. AR and VR are similar in the sense that they’re delivered across the Internet so there are no geographical boundaries,” says SoftCover VR founder Ian Millar.

With the use of closed visors or goggles, both VR and AR allow users to behave in a simulated environment. While VR takes the user into a completely immersed experience that gives them the full effect of experiencing a different reality, AR is an enhanced version of an existing environment with technology adding additional layers, elements or images.

VR and AR could help improve care and outcomes for patients and allow healthcare providers to better communicate therapy options. Complex medical information can be broken down into simple, visual concepts that can be downloaded through an app and viewed on a smartphone.

Millar says this technology goes hand in hand with the new wave of patient-centered care.

SoftCover VR’s inaugural offering into the VR and AR world is an educational video for LifeLabs, a Canadian healthcare company that performs more than 100 million laboratory tests every year.

The video details benefits of a new pharmacogenetic test, which uses a patient’s genetic and non-genetic information to determine how quickly they absorb certain medication. The results can provide valuable information on the most effective treatments and dosing.  

In the simulated VR environment, the patient can go inside their body to see how a medication reacts with their bloodstream, showing them what happens when they absorb a medication too quickly or too slowly, and ultimately, how it would look after obtaining the proper dosage as a result of the pharmacogenetic test results.

“It’s very visual, especially in VR. You’re fully immersed in the sound and video and really absorbed with the content that’s coming in.”

To create this fully immersive experience, Millar has compiled a team of VR developers who specialize in the entertainment and gaming industry, resulting in a highly sensory experience the smartphone generation has come to expect.

As well as providing marketing materials for medical tests or services, the area of VR and AR provides opportunities for training and education to physicians or pharmaceutical companies around the world — in any language and accessible for all audiences, while saving money on instructional and travel costs.

And Millar says this is just the beginning.

“This is going to be embraced as a major marketing tool going forward. As the technology and the user experience of the different headsets improves, you’re going to see VR and AR absolutely explode.”

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Who is it for ?

With each of our core offerings, we develop highly-customized VR and AR solutions for healthcare and pharmaceutical professionals looking for immersive and interactive solutions to solve their challenges—whether its virtual training scenarios, explaining complex ideas and scientific concepts, or marketing a new product. VR and AR have rapidly shifted from being viewed as an optimistic prototype to a fully-viable platform that is increasingly being used in healthcare and the pharmaceutical industry, from training to treatments.