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According to an Accenture report, more than eight in 10 healthcare executives expect the metaverse to have a positive impact on healthcare.
The Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2022 report called the metaverse “the next horizon” in healthcare, where surgical teams can learn new procedures without having to physically be in the same operating room.
Another application can be found in secure authentication, where, for example, a traveling patient can securely provide their medical information to a healthcare provider without having to authenticate with a doctor.
“In healthcare, the biggest opportunity today is to harness the potential of the space between the real and fully virtual worlds,” said Kaveh Safavi, senior managing director at Accenture Health. Healthcare Finance News.
He added that it is useful to think about augmented reality and the possibility of superimposing digital information on top of clinicians’ real-world experience, or to improve the education of medical students with more effective hands-on learning.
Safavi said he was surprised that nearly all healthcare executives in the survey said they believed continued technological advancements become more reliable than economic, political or social trends in informing their organizations’ long-term strategies.
He pointed out that healthcare executives say IT/security breaches are their number one concern – with 64% of those surveyed in particular deepfakes or other disinformation attacks.
“As the healthcare sector scales programmable global projects, it will introduce many more connected, intelligent devices, creating new access points that connect our physical and digital worlds,” he said. “But there are significant challenges to connecting these technologies securely and at scale – data interoperability and cybersecurity.”
It is important that risks for cybersecurity and data privacy will not be passed on to the digital world, but will also have serious consequences in the physical world.
That means healthcare organizations need the right channel, source, policy and governance to have reliable data. Safavi explained that many have one or two pieces to the puzzle, but are missing the other crucial pieces.
“Join consortia and industry standards groups to shape governance, data interoperability and cybersecurity standards,” he said. “From an interoperability perspective, this could mean participating in ecosystem-wide efforts to set standards for how devices connect and communicate in healthcare.”
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
The convergence of technologies – such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) – reshaping human experiences in new and innovative ways.
In the coming years, these new experiences will transform healthcare delivery, from conducting clinical trials to coordinating patient experiences and creating new ways to serve patients.
A therapeutic VR program reduces pain intensity for up to six months later, compared to a sham app, according to a recently published study in JMIR†
THE BIGGER TREND
Some experts believe the metaverse will changing healthcare landscape significantly. One feature would be for ‘digital twins’, a virtual model or simulation generated using real-world data with the aim of learning more about its real-world counterpart.
Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer, Futures Intelligence Group, said at ATA2022 that these biodigital twins could be used to test experimental treatments.
In March, CVS Health said it plans to trademark its logo and set up an online store, as well as create downloadable virtual goods. CVS also plans to transition some of its in-store health services to a virtual environment, such as non-emergency medical treatments, wellness programs, nutritional counseling services, and health, lifestyle and nutritional advice.
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