Year after year, the healthcare system implements new technology in order to provide a more complete, better, practical system that is less expensive and keeps patient information safe while still allowing the physician to access it easily. In nearly every country in the world, efforts are being made to initiate new ideas and concepts to take healthcare in a direction that provides healthcare for everyone. The US has a lot to show for these efforts, such as Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), healthcare maintenance, population management, and a long list of others. You name it, and there are measures being implemented to bring the idea to life, all with the same goal: providing healthcare to people and maximizing preventative medicine while ensuring that physicians are being optimally qualified for their jobs, all while minimizing the less-than-healthy cost.
We won’t delve into the economic and social issues of healthcare–that’s far beyond our scope, and not the focus of this article. We’ll leave that to the specialists. However, having learned that the principle of what healthcare could be in the near future, we want to talk deeply about different ideas and concepts that could involve augmented reality into this new era of medicine. We found ourselves asking a few questions: how do we manage patients at home? How can we maximize the reach of preventative medicine? We’ve talked about that briefly before, but is there a way to involve AR into this matter? We think so.
The implementation of health monitoring through smart devices is not a new idea. However, the thing that sets this new AR technology apart from the units of the past is that now, we have more precise and powerful devices that can allow doctors to keep track of a patient’s vital parameters without being accused of intromission. There are other devices that can allow doctors to see if a patient is complying with their treatment orders, like this one, but we would like to explore the idea of making a network that merges both platforms into an AR interface, which would serve as an educational or first aid tool in case of any new development in the patient’s health.
Let’s face it–there are not enough doctors in the world to treat everyone. People are born faster than doctors can be trained, and experience factors heavily into how good a physician a young doctor will be, especially in specific specialties. It’s safe to say that one day we will have no choice but to put our health, at least partially, in the hands of machines, and if we get it right, these machines might very well use AR in order to make the patient an active participant in their own care. This AR platform could serve as the first “go to” tool when a patient has a question about their treatment or a symptom. The platform (we could even have a human avatar!) would aim to solve those patient issues by answering their questions and giving them simple recommendations, pre-authorized prescriptions that are given by the acting physician, or even going as far as to alert emergency medical personnel in emergency situations if the patient needs immediate care, such as in instances of suspected heart attack or stroke.
It might not go as far as all this. The concept is only useful, after all, if the system would be capable of providing safe advice based on medical recommendations that are tailored to each patient. However, it could be beneficial to have something at the patient’s fingertips that can tell them what might exacerbate their symptoms and lessen the demand on their doctors. Someday, we might be able to have technology that can safely give patients healthcare advice without having to consult a doctor at all for minor cases, as well as technology that can tell patients when symptoms might be more ominous and should be seen by a physician, improving our healthcare system and benefiting the patients, all while being cost efficient.
What do you think about this proposal? Does it seem feasible to you? Let us know in the comments section.