Owing to the revolutionary changes happening in the field of technology in the past decade, novelties such as Metaverse have come into existence.
Being a collection of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), the metaverse has become the platform that connects different aspects of the healthcare system to facilitate diagnosis and treatment.
Considering its massive potential, let us take a look at what are the barriers to accessing healthcare in the US and how metaverse can penetrate through them to improve the overall healthcare system.
Statistics Regarding Barriers to Accessing Healthcare
According to the statistics published in Time, individuals who perceive the US health system as a failure exceed 70%. It was concluded after conducting a survey-based study in which the participants were asked to mention their satisfaction level with the US healthcare system.
People were also asked about what they believed to be the reason for this unsatisfactory medical care. Though the answers varied through a wide range, the most common being the affordability as well as the profit-focused approach of the system.
Many also mentioned the inaccessibility due to insurance issues while others indicated the presence of bias in the system. In addition, the longer time needed to get an appointment as well as the insufficient number of healthcare providers in an area were also enlisted.
All of these factors add up to result in an overall discouragement of approaching the healthcare system when a need arises. Although not all, some of these issues can be resolved by the implication of metaverse in healthcare.
How does Metaverse Work?
In the metaverse, multiple digital platforms and spaces are clustered together to form an intricate network. Patients can use gadgets like smartphones, VR headsets, and AR-equipped glasses to access this network. Once in, one can interact with people from all over the work who are displayed as their avatars.
Although digital, the metaverse’s experience feels real and highly interactive. When it comes to healthcare, the concepts of telemedicine and virtual medical simulations have been proving fruitful due to the increased reliance of patients resulting in the continuation of treatment in most cases.
Advantages of Metaverse in Healthcare
The following advantages can be gained from approaching healthcare through the metaverse:
● Remote Consultancy and Patient Comfort
Multiple patients do not fulfill their appointments due to the amount of money they have to put in to get to a medical facility. This aspect worsens when it comes to rural areas where the cost of travel to a physician’s clinic residing in an urban area is usually massive and unaffordable.
Through metaverse, the patients can take the opinion of a healthcare provider online which eliminates the need to travel to a healthcare facility. This way, the overall cost of treatment is lessened and treatment affordability is significantly increased.
● Increased Patient Focus
Due to the huge burden on the healthcare system, it is common to find patients complaining about not being given proper time and focus during an appointment.
The doctors in the US, being less in number than the requirement, cannot usually spare more than 15 minutes on a single patient.
Therefore, approaching healthcare via metaverse has made the practice more patient-centric thus increasing their satisfaction with the treatment process.
● Management of White Coat Syndrome
White coat syndrome is a condition that affects many patients in the form of sudden anxiety when seeing a physician. This quick spike in the patient’s stress levels alters their parameters such as blood pressure and heart rate which can consequently affect diagnosis. When approached online, indications of this white coat syndrome are also minimized when it comes to metaverse-assisted consultations.
● Increased Medical Collaborations
In some cases, a patient’s situation is so complex that multiple consultations from different experts are required to fully understand the health issues followed by the setting of the most suitable treatment regimen. Here, metaverse gives the opportunity to experts from around the globe to collaborate on a case virtually assisting the treatment.
● Remote Surgical Assistance
For conducting complex surgeries, the experts sometimes need to collaborate with physicians from another country who work in the relative domain. By employing technologies related to the metaverse, it has become possible to provide remote assistance in surgical procedures when in-person presence is not possible.
● Assistance of Metaverse in Medical Research
In addition to the patient-focused benefits of the metaverse, various domains like medical research also demand converged focus.
The processes involved in drug discovery, medical studies, as well as innovations in a healthcare system can also be discussed together from time to time using metaverse.
This way, the exchange of latest observations, formulated hypotheses, and obtained results becomes quick which further shortens the time between perception of a scientific idea and its adaption into reality.
● Metaverse as a Learning Platform
With metaverse, physicians can access the latest training sessions regarding newer medications and treatment methods which are introduced almost every day. Moreover, advanced surgical simulations to teach new methods of conducting surgery are also easy to access. In addition, teaching the correct employment of a novel instrument by displaying it to the experts online also eliminates the risk of manual errors.
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Approaching a healthcare provider has been revolutionized due to the virtual methods of consultation. Metaverse is being employed for this purpose to ease the process of diagnosis and treatment.
It ensures improved patient care, the provision of advanced medical training and research along with a reduction in the overall treatment cost. Moreover, patient satisfaction is also significantly increased.
Thus, with such undeniable improvements in place, approaching healthcare through the metaverse is something to stay and expand over time.