When it comes to health care, there are many things to consider: treatment types, cost, insurance plans, and more. But, one of the most important things for a health care provider is the patient experience. For those providing health care and those receiving it, the patient experience goes a long way towards defining 'success' in the field. The positive result of treatment is obviously at the top of the priority list. However, everything around that result makes up the patient experience. From hospital wayfinding, to waiting room comfort, to keeping children entertained, the patient experience determines how people feel about their health care provider. One relatively untapped technology that can assist with the patient experience is augmented reality.
Augmented reality enhances the physical world with digital information and imagery. It has uses in almost every industry, but there are few augmented reality ideas in the works that will definitely improve the patient experience
Hospitals come with a sense of urgency. For those visiting someone, that urgency can be disorienting. Unfortunately, many hospital layouts don't help. Hospitals expand and are often unable to come up with a wayfinding strategy that works. As a result, visitors and patients alike are left to wander the halls without an obvious source for help. Augmented reality can be used as a wayfinding solution. Using a mobile device, visitors or patients can utilize AR triggers to see directions appear over the physical environment. With AR leading the way, hospitals can become more easily navigable.
Waiting Room Fun
What's better than reading an issue of Highlights Magazine from 1992? Anything. Waiting rooms are not known for their entertainment value. For families, that can present a problem. Small children don't like to sit still and hate feeling bored. But, visits to the hospital can be unpredictable, tense, and not very child-friendly. Augmented reality can help. Using AR triggers, children can use smartphones and tablets to point at waiting room walls and see 3D figures come to life. While their parents wait to be seen, children can explore ocean animals or check out 3D airplanes.
Improved Health Care
Augmented reality can act as an advanced imaging modality. Like an X-Ray, MRI, CT scan, and 3D modeling, augmented reality can present 3D digital representations of body parts (both internal and external) for doctors and surgeons to reference. The goal of imaging modalities is accuracy - the best and clearest picture of the body part in question, so that the right diagnosis can be made and the right actions can be taken. The direction of AR suggests that it will be a viable option for imaging in the future.
Augmented reality can help improve health care by improving the patient experience. It can make navigating hospitals easier, it can make waiting rooms more fun, and it can improve health care results. As the technology continues to advance, health care providers will continue to discover new uses for AR in their facilities.