How immersive and interactive technologies bring a paradigm shift in patient care

AR and VR are improving the standard of patient experience, education, and communication and making the patient’s journey a smooth process using interactive technologies

To understand how immersive and interactive technologies have uplifted patient experience, let's take the example of Jacob. He is an upcoming tennis player from San Francisco, California, and he has won many titles in the junior championships and is looking forward to turning pro very soon. But Jacob forfeited from the tournament this year as he was facing problems in his right knee. Let us see the journey he will go through during the treatment.

1. Identifying Symptoms

During his semi-final match, Jacob identified that he was feeling discomfort in his right knee, and therefore decided to take a medical time out after the first set. The tournament's physio came onto the court wearing an AR goggle and started analyzing the situation. Jacob could hear another voice from the headset, asking him about the symptoms in detail whether he was feeling stiffness in his knee. The voice belonged to Dr. Allen, a lead orthopedic in the University of Iowa and is one of the most famous orthopedics in the country.

Jacob informed him that he could not move his body and didn't feel that he should continue in this match. With Dr. Allen's guidance, the physio conducted quick tests through AR-based Telemedicine software that allowed him to mark symptoms precisely on the augmented view of Jacob's knee. Dr. Allen received the same range of vision via tele transmission for further analysis. The doctors advised Jacob to forfeit the match and quit the tournament with immediate effect.

2. Consulting a Physician & diagnosis

Jacob thought of consulting Dr. Allen immediately on the next steps. The problem was the geographical distance. Dr. Allen lived in Iowa, and Jacob was from San Francisco. Because of the Covid- 19 pandemic and looking at the situation's urgency, it was challenging for Jacob to travel to Iowa. Therefore, he decided to consult Dr. Allen through a virtual medium.

As suggested by Dr. Allen, Jacob downloaded an interactive health consultation application on his mobile. The smart application allowed him to share his regular scheduled health updates and prompted diet and medication intake as prescribed by the doctor. Also, Dr. Allen appointed a visiting physician from Jacob's locality to gather and log vital data using various access credentials through this app. He also shared some guided & interactive instructions for exercise and physiotherapy sessions with Jacob. This helped Dr. Allen to track the treatment he is offering and its results.

At the consultation, Jacob mentioned to the visiting physician that he faced minor pains during the tournament. And in the recent match, he felt that his knee had gone stiff and couldn't move properly. Upon reporting this symptom, Dr. Allen suggested Jacob get an MRI and an Ultrasound done immediately. Post seeing the reports, the doctor prescribed a complete knee replacement surgery.

3. Decision

After knowing that he had to get a full knee replacement surgery, Jacob was worried and scared about the whole surgical process. He felt that if something went wrong during the surgery, he might lose the opportunity to play Tennis ever again in his life.

To make Jacob feel confident and comfortable about the entire surgical process, Dr. Allen's team dispatched a VR headset to him. Dr. Allen shared the immersive experience of operation procedures and testimonials of recovered patients in the form of VR video. Using google cardboard smartphone application and VR headset, Jacob went through the entire experience at the comfort of his home. It allowed Jacob to gain confidence in what he will undergo.

The VR-based technology can give a broad new perspective to the patient answering every question that they have in their mind about the technical and non-technical aspects of the surgery.

The surgery's VR representation gave Jacob more confidence about the treatment, and he made up his mind to go with the surgery.

4. Treatment

On the surgery day, Dr. Allen was not physically present to operate him as it was difficult for him to travel from Iowa to San Francisco. It worried Jacob made him anxious and nervous about his upcoming surgery. Because it was Dr. Allen, who convinced him to take the surgery, and only he had Jacob's medical records.

Little did Jacob know that Dr. Allen was waiting for him in the operation theatre virtually from Iowa. It is now possible that two surgical experts can assist each other during surgery even though they are miles apart. AR-based collaboration between doctors is a reality and has been used extensively in hospitals worldwide with the help of devices such as the Microsoft Hololens AR headset.

5. Recovery

Jacob's knee replacement surgery was an astounding success, and it required up to 4 to 6 months for him to recover and rehabilitate before getting back on the tennis court again. Jacob was updating his progress on that application, and it allowed Dr. Allen to analyze Jacob's progress and recovery every time Jacob posted an update on the application.

This use of technology allowed Jacob and Dr. Allen to be in communication after the surgery. The entire journey for Jacob was pleasant as he was able to recover and play Tennis once again.

We could conclude the importance of the new age technology that has significantly played a crucial role in optimizing patient experiences worldwide through this journey.

Doctor-patient communication has come a long way since the inception of new technological advancements such as immersive technologies. But before all this, it was the responsibility of doctors and medical practitioners to educate patients on medical concepts. On the other hand, the commoner would blindly put their faith and trust the experts with their health.

But times have changed tremendously. As technology has grown, the internet has exposed the commoner to more information about complex medical concepts. Hence they have a lot of questions when it comes to understanding these concepts.

A study done by eligibility.com(1) in 2019 found that 89% of US citizens google their health symptoms before visiting a doctor. The study mentions that patients try to determine the severity of the health condition before going to a doctor. Therefore, it has become necessary for doctors and medical practitioners to communicate the correct information and achieve patient engagement and enablement.

Before we understand the crux of patient experience and how it benefits the healthcare industry's respective stakeholders, it is crucial to understand the meaning of patient enablement. Patient enablement can be defined as how a patient can understand and cope with their health issues.

How can Ethosh help for patient enablement?

We at Ethosh realize the utmost value of bringing change to the world through digital experiences. Ethosh can get a definitive direction for patient enablement through our digital solutions:

Immersive Digital Content

With increasing advancements in technological maturity and gaining enterprise adoption, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) is set to become the new normal in promoting customer experience. From product demonstration to education, VR & AR (also known as Mixed Reality) offers a better alternative at a significant cost advantage over any other physical engagement.

Following is a case study that showcases how we at Ethosh increased patient awareness using VR:

After a company installed its first robotic-assisted spine surgery apparatus at a hospital, it was essential to help the hospital communicate the new technology's advantages to the patients who could benefit from it. To accomplish this, Ethosh developed an immersive experience to show patients the real-time benefits of the technology by bringing them into the OR virtually. This experience helped patients make an informed choice about the surgery technique, thereby increasing its overall adoption at the hospital.

Educating patients using virtual reality-png-1

Interactive Digital Content

From interactive infographics and value calculators to online quizzes and games to immersive 3D interactive experiences, we offer an array of solutions that meet every marketer's top priorities for interactive content.

The following case study showcases how Ethosh Digital helped in designing an interactive tool for altering price perception:

We assisted a Global Pharmaceutical company in an HCP awareness campaign about patients' quality of life v/s Treatment cost by developing a Veeva CLM calculator.

Interactive tool to alter price perception

Reference and Citation

1. https://www.wect.com/2019/06/24/study-finds-us-citizens-turn-google-before-their-doctor/ 

 


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