Augmented reality (AR) is a promising digital technology that has come to the fore and become an enormous success as is evident from the success of Pokémon Go. This technology acquires people’s interest because the mobile (or any other AR device) shows them either alive or indirect view of a real-world; physical environment that is augmented by certain sensory, computer-generated inputs such as graphics, sound, GPS data, and videos. It has taken over many industries, and this includes mobile apps. AR-based mobile apps are becoming more and more popular with each passing day due to the enhanced user experience they are providing to the users. Like other industries healthcare, mobile apps are also using AR to give the users heightened the experience and to improve efficiency and results. Doctors, trainees, nurses, and patients, in fact, anyone related to the healthcare sector can benefit from AR-based healthcare apps. The potential of AR is so vast that it can completely change the everyday medicine and healthcare for both doctors and patients.

The healthcare mobile apps can either control the AR equipped tools for doing procedures or use healthcare apps based on AR for medical learning and teaching in a more interactive manner. Mobile app developers in India are incorporating AR to healthcare apps to develop next-generation healthcare mobile apps that provide exhaustive experience to users. Here are a few examples of the use of AR in medicine.

AR-based apps can help patients describe their symptoms better

In ophthalmology, AR helps patients to understand their symptoms and describe them better to the doctor through the medical app, EyeDecide. This healthcare app uses camera display and simulates the effect of specific conditions on the vision of a person. Doctors can show this simulation to the patients so that the patients can identify their symptoms correctly and help the doctor diagnose their eye condition correctly.

Similarly, in other healthcare verticals also patients struggle to describe their symptoms accurately to doctors, and such AR-based apps need to be developed for other healthcare branches to educate patients through AR about the symptoms. This helps them identify their condition and doctors can then provide appropriate treatment without delay.

AR-based apps can help nurses find veins easily

No patient likes to be repeatedly pricked for finding the vein, and this is also time-consuming for the nurse as well. So, a start-up company, AccuVein, has come up with an app based on AR technology that uses a handheld scanner to project over the skin and find the exact location of the veins in the body of the patient. The probability of finding the correct vein on the first stick has increased 3.5 times with this app. Such technologies are thus needed for assisting healthcare professionals and extending their skills, thereby making health care more convenient and less painful for the patients.

AR-based apps can guide new mothers struggling with breastfeeding

Using Google Glass, AR-based apps guide new mothers effectively on any issues they face while breastfeeding little ones at home. Thus, struggling new mothers can get expert advice at any time of the day without even any need to put the baby down in their arms.

AR can save lives by detecting defibrillators nearby

When a person next to you collapses suddenly, you are sure to use your phone to call an ambulance, or a doctor, or your mom for help. However, if you use to download the Layar reality browser and combine it with AED4EU app on your phone by saving next to the basic emergency numbers, you will be able to help more in such a situation.

Users of AED4EU can add places where automated external defibrillators or AEDs are located to the database of the app, which can then be accessed by users when in need near that location. Thus, there is a need to develop such AR based applications that can bring crucial pieces of such life-saving information when in need or danger.

AR can assist surgeons in surgeries

Precision is of immense importance in surgeries, whether they are minimally invasive or deep ones. Using AR healthcare apps to assist surgeons can make them much more efficient and save lives by treating patients seamlessly. Accurate 3-dimensional reconstruction of tumours is possible through an AR-based software developed by Medsights Tech. Surgeons have been empowered with this complex image reconstruction technology as they get x-ray views, without any real-time radiation exposure of patients.

AR can motivate runners through zombies

The Zombies, Run! an application is based on the idea of making a person feel that they are being followed by slowly moving and groaning strange creatures. This feeling makes even the laziest person speed up thinking that a “real zombie” is following him/her. Thus, the healthy exercise of running, to keep you fit, is made more interesting for those who find it boring. Moreover, to increase speed and endurance, you can also see real zombies around.

AR can transform the way you look at the world with Google’s digital contact lens

Digital contact lenses and retinal implants have an enormous potential for transforming healthcare. While retinal implants can provide vision back to those who lost it and grant them supervision augmenting what is happening, digital contact lenses can not only transform the way we look at the world but also revolutionize diabetes care with their multi-sensor lens to measure blood sugar levels. Digital contact lenses can also augment reality, such as by turning the page of an e-book with the blink of the eye.

AR can aid pharmacy companies in providing more innovative drug information

Rather than reading the boring and undecipherable drug descriptions, you would like to know how the drug works in your body in 3D in front of your eyes using AR apps. The workers using AR equipment can also monitor experiments in labs. Training can be provided to workers in factories as the AR-enabled machines and devices will tell them what and how to do anything new.

To conclude

Though at the moment, AR implementation in healthcare is facing certain hindrances, within the next 3-5 years, the biggest obstacles related to education, cultural change, and acceptance will fade away. Also, the technical and cost-related obstacles are temporal and will disappear in the future. Thus, mobile app developers should target augmented reality for developing their next generation healthcare apps to provide an innovative, all-new experience to the users.