The metaverse and healthcare environments are constantly evolving. Currently, the metaverse is positioning itself as a new digital space that offers various possibilities to all sectors. Although it is not without controversy: on the one hand, it is generating doubts about its viability; On the other hand, there is hope that it will be the new Internet 3.0, with digital services that improve efficiency in the health sector.
How would it help if patients could move through a virtual space to be seen by a specialist doctor? This article reflects on the metaverse’s possibilities for healthcare environments.
Metaverse trends applied to health services
The metaverse consists of a virtual space that allows different environments to be linked through headphones and a computer, simulating the real world but being 100% virtual.
This experience allows daily life to develop differently through avatars and devices. In this sense, the possibility of medical care being carried out through this means is increasingly accurate since immersive environments are being incorporated into non-face-to-face care models.
The possibilities of combining technologies in this virtual world are endless. For example, the benefits of artificial intelligence can be harnessed, such as data mining, neural networks, machine learning, big data, etc. This technology applied to the health sector can optimize results, reduce costs and improve the quality of medical care.
According to Accenture’s “Technology Vision 2022” study, the trends that we can locate today in the metaverse and in healthcare environments that can offer accurate results are the following:
- The 3.0 environment
- The programming
- Augmented reality and chatbots
- Quantum computing
The virtual hospital
The virtual hospital concept is becoming an increasingly real need. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, access to health has become a priority for the population’s well-being.
The virtual hospital, related to telemedicine, is that digital space that allows the user to enjoy adequate care from health professionals. Through it, you can manage various illnesses and diseases and administrative issues.
This virtual service is designed for people who find it difficult to go to the consultation in person, either because of their working hours or because they suffer from a pathology that makes it difficult for them to travel.
Hospitals have digital platforms through which they provide services to their patients. However, most only offer administrative services, such as online appointments, telecare, or downloading medical reports or records.
With the incorporation of the metaverse into health environments, the patient becomes an avatar to receive specialized care in the virtual space. But how could this work? For example, the avatar (a term that refers to a digital representation of people) can carry the digital DNA of the patient or user to be as similar as possible to him according to his illnesses or ailments.
The metaverse and healthcare environments: some risks
The metaverse is a space with tremendous possibilities that, in a few years, everyone will have access to. However, this virtual world also has its risks.
Data theft or cybercrime, cyber addiction or the excessive increase in virtual space are some dangers. Therefore, companies and institutions must guarantee optimal service and user safety, health or otherwise, in this environment.
Is the metaverse just a fad? It is first necessary to understand what it is and what it can bring us in the health sector to answer this question, as well as the services that could be located in this environment to provide added value to what already exists within the healthcare world.
Thus, in conclusion, we can say that this type of virtual universe has become a trend that allows us to reach scenarios that could not have been imagined a few years ago. There is a need to understand and capitalize on the many potential benefits of the metaverse for healthcare settings to ensure the well-being of individuals.