The Metaverse and Healthcare/ Medicine:
Since 2021, the concept of the metaverse has been widely discussed. It refers to the internet accessed via virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) glasses, and is considered to be the next-generation mobile computing platform that will be widely used in the future.
Professor Chunxue Bai and colleagues have recently proposed the metaverse in medicine, and suggested naming 2022 as the “Year of the Metaverse in Medicine”. Their expert group further discussed the definition of the metaverse in the medical context, and its concept and application scenarios, as well as its clinical importance. It is expected that this new concept will contribute to improving comprehensive healthcare as well as prevention and treatment of diseases, and to upgrading the current diagnosis and treatment model – which varies widely between doctors and hospitals, creating uneven standards akin to production in handicraft workshops (referred to as the “handicraft workshop model”) – to a modern high quality “ six sigma” model that consistently delivers high standards.
Three areas in which the metaverse is likely to gain dominance in the healthcare industry are : Surgical operations, mental health and medical education and training.
The UN General Assembly’s 2015 resolution regarding “ good health and well-being” will be realised most likely with leveraging the Metaverse. The SDG Goal 3 aims to achieve universal health coverage, that seeks equitable access of healthcare services to all men and women. It proposes to end the preventable death of newborns, infants and children under five and end epidemics.
The potential of the Metaverse in healthcare/ medicine is now well appreciated, but it may take another decade for it being used actively in the hospitals or medical practices. However practical implementation is already happening. The link at number 5 below describes a product that was shown at Dubai in January 2022.
Louis Pasteur, pioneer of the “ germ theory of disease” had said that “ fortune favours the prepared mind”. Let’s get fortunate with the Metaverse.
A few carefully chosen links for further information:
1: Expert consensus on metaverse in medicine : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2588914122000016
2: Metaverse: the next frontier in healthcare: https://www.informationweek.com/big-data/metaverse-the-next-frontier-in-healthcare-
3: What role is the Metaverse playing in reshaping the health sector? https://gulfbusiness.com/what-role-is-metaverse-playing-in-reshaping-the-healthcare-sector/
4: Metaverse in healthcare: the future is now : https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/health-it/metaverse-in-healthcare-the-future-is-now/90758113
5: Health City: a medical Metaverse : https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/107310/Health-City-Aimedis-Publishes-HealthMetaverse-and-Will-Soon-Open-the-First-Clinic-In-It