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Pakko De La Torre // Creative Director

How Augmented Reality Is Changing Healthcare

How Augmented Reality Is Changing Healthcare

The medical word is never far from the cutting edge of innovative technology. Every technological trend that revolutionizes other areas of life and work will always have a bearing on medical science. In fact, very often it is precisely for medical applications that much new technology is actually developed. Research and development are part of the medical world – the imperative to find new ways of caring for patients and saving lives is just too strong – and medicine never lags behind technology. In fact, it is nearly always at the forefront of it.

This is something that has far-reaching implications for new healthcare graduates. Health Jobs Nationwide, an online health jobs board, says that competency with advanced technology is already a requirement for most healthcare vacancies. But not only that, but it is also an item of well-known wisdom that everything a graduate has learned before beginning work has the potential to become obsolete very quickly. Many healthcare professionals now making use of advanced communication technology in order to provide telehealth care, for example, would have learned nothing about this during their studies or training. That is how fast things move.

It is absolutely no surprise, therefore, that augmented reality, which refers to the experience of real-life stimuli with computerized information and graphics overlaid, is already making an impact in the healthcare world. Those poor medical professionals about half way through their career are just going to have to come to grips with this technology too. And there will be something else in a couple of years!

What is Augmented Reality in Healthcare?

Augmented reality is a diverse technology that works on the fundamental principle of integrating digital information onto the user’s real-world environment. This information can take many forms, but for healthcare it is most commonly visual information (graphics) overlaid onto the visual perception of the user.

Where healthcare is concerned, the most important thing is simulation. Medical procedures can rarely be “practiced” without a patient actually requiring one – and what patient would like to be practiced upon! With augmented reality, we can simply get so much closer to the real thing without endangering life. You will notice that many of the augmented reality technologies now being realized revolve around precisely this potential.

Examples of Augmented Reality in Healthcare

So, how is augmented reality being used in healthcare right now? Here are a handful of examples:


The potential for augmented reality in medical training goes far beyond simulated surgeries. Students can now use the technology to explore the human anatomy with a body that doesn’t really exist. Holograms are better than cadavers because they can be programmed to behave like a living body, not a dead one.

Simulated Environments

NASA is already training astronauts with augmented reality. The exact same principle is sure to be used to train paramedics in precisely the same way. The technology certainly exists to create a super-realistic disaster or accident scene, something that will mean better trained paramedics on day one of the job.

3D Printing

3D printing is where augmented reality gets as close as possible to actual reality, as it involves the creation of real-world objects – just ones which are models of real things. Imagine a 3D printed heart that you can operate on, or a prosthetic limb printed with every detail of a real leg. This technology is almost certainly on its way.

The examples given above should be more than enough to convince anyone that, perhaps more than any other new technology, augmented reality has a secure place within medicine. Make no mistake, we are going to see more of it.

This content was originally published here.