Innovative and exciting technologies have always made a significant influence on modern medicine and Augmented Reality (AR) is no different. The technology has been instrumental in changing several medical procedures and professions by superimposing a real environment with computer-generated images. AR solutions have been leveraged within many medical operations including diagnostics, tutoring and treatments.

Let’s look at some examples of healthcare startups leveraging AR technology and the way it has impacted medical operations.

Surgery
Modern AR applications enable surgeons to precisely study their patient’s anatomy without even making an incision. AR healthcare applications generate visualizations of internal organs, bones and muscles which allows medical professionals to spot abnormalities and accordingly make a plan for surgery or look for the best relevant procedure. The possibility of mapping a persons’ inner organs in a non-invasive manner supports the research and development process of monitoring reactions inside cells and the formulation of new medical solutions.

Diagnostics
Diagnostics is an area that seems to benefit the most from using AR. Healthcare solutions like the one people access through their smartphones are capable of monitoring a patient’s health condition which allows for the early detection of various diseases and prevents them. AR provides medical professionals with the ability to scan and check the veins during simple medical check-ups and detect abnormalities immediately. This increases the speed of diagnostic processes as well as increasing the efficiency of medical interventions.

There are several AR applications that leverage machine learning to detect and analyze skin abnormalities. The way it works is patients can do regular self-check ups by taking pictures of spots on their skin and uploading them. The application is designed to detect and prevent skin cancer as well as support the diagnosis of various other skin diseases.

Medical education
Augmented reality in healthcare has been revolutionary in medical education. By offering accurate visualizations of inner organs that can be sliced open and treated like a real organ provides invaluable insights and knowledge to medical students. Such solutions allow medical students to better understand complex procedures through interactive formats and can even be leveraged to perform complicated surgeries and examinations in a totally virtual environment, without actually needing a real human tissues.

There are several applications that are designed specifically for teaching surgery to medical residents. Also, there are AR-based applications that create an accurate 3D model of the human anatomy that allows us to see the bones, muscles and veins. Such applications promote better learning and understanding of the human body for medical students.

Mental health
Mental health procedures are also benefiting from the advent of AR technology. There are several healthcare products designed to immerse and expose patients and trigger their emotions of fear and anxiety and allow them to gain control over their phobia, overcome social or work-related anxiety and overall, improve their confidence. Conversely, AR has also been utilized to support relaxation and remove negative feelings and emotions within patients.‍

Emergency reactions
Emergency medical assistance has also shown tremendous promise and potential for leveraging AR technology. For example, AR healthcare applications can show the location of the nearest clinic, hospital or defibrillator in the case of an emergency. It can also be effective in training emergency care providers. It can also be used during unexpected events like natural disasters to properly manage medical divisions and provide their services in a safe, organized and efficient way. AR technology can be crucial in such cases as it can help people reach medical care during natural disasters and allow them to get access or detect medical equipment or possible evacuation routes in their immediate vicinity.