LAS VEGAS, NV – The Metaverse, a virtual reality environment unrestricted by the constraints of the physical world, was long discussed for its potential to revolutionize various aspects of our lives. One such area already experiencing transformation is, surprisingly enough, healthcare.
Today, Virtual Reality (VR) offers immersive experiences tailored for different types of injuries and rehabilitation goals. For instance, an individual recovering from an ACL injury may use VR to practice walking or running without putting pressure on the joint. Meanwhile, someone recovering from a stroke may use VR to relearn how to use their hands or grasp objects.
VR therapy also benefits those without physical injuries who wish to improve their physical abilities for sports or other activities. Athletes like LeBron James have used VR to enhance their shooting accuracy by practicing in the virtual world before applying the skills in the real world.
Metaverse Technology Revolutionizes Digital Health in the Middle East
Recently, the UAE has emerged as a leader in applying Metaverse technology. Dubai’s Medcare Women & Children Hospital pioneered the adaptation of Metaverse technology in the UAE.
This initiative aims to provide patients with more information about their care while allowing them to explore the hospital before they arrive. It also enables doctors to communicate more intuitively with their patients, ultimately improving treatment outcomes.
Integrating the Metaverse into healthcare offers numerous benefits, such as making healthcare more accessible and cost-effective. Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director of Aster DM Healthcare, envisions using the Metaverse to enable patients to access hospitals or consult healthcare professionals without facing the usual travel and waiting hassles.
The Challenges of Virtual Hospitals
While virtual hospitals remove barriers to healthcare access, they also present challenges. The primary concern is the authenticity and reliability of medical information and advice provided by medical professionals on the platform.
Patients need a way to verify the accuracy of the information they receive since it’s all online rather than in-person. Moreover, some individuals still prefer face-to-face consultations with their doctors.
Addressing the Risk of Cybersickness in Metaverse Environments
Despite the incredible potential of Metaverse applications in healthcare, the adoption process has encountered some hurdles. One significant challenge is “cybersickness,” or nausea and dizziness resulting from VR use. Though not severe, it is an ongoing obstacle for the Metaverse, especially as many UAE businesses adopt VR technology.
Concerns about cybersickness arise from companies trying to reduce production costs for immersive environments like VR. As technology advances and games and simulations become more sophisticated, the risk of cybersickness may increase, according to Dr. Naveen Singh in Arabian Business.
Many companies now create smaller VR devices for accessibility, but this often means using inferior processors, leading to disorienting graphics for users. “We want people to actually stay in the metaverse, not come and leave with medical issues,” Singh added.
The Future of Healthcare in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is transforming the healthcare industry with advancements in virtual reality technologies. The ability to virtually visit any location without leaving home or office is a game-changer for doctors needing to consult experts worldwide. Additionally, VR technology creates a more immersive experience for patients, making remote consultations feel like in-person interactions.
Numerous companies are already utilizing this technology to make a difference. For example, Vivid Vision offers immersive video games to help those with lazy eyes (amblyopia) strengthen their weaker eyesight by using both eyes simultaneously.
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