MedCity: ‘62% of people believe that doctor’s appointments will be conducted by virtual reality’

Technology innovation has real potential to effect change in how healthcare services are provided and consumed according to MedCity, the life sciences promotion agency set up by the Mayor of London. Virtual reality (VR) is a key component of this, as the emergence of modern hardware has made the medium far more accessible than ever before.

Oculus Rift consumer version

Across the UK, half of the population regularly uses the internet to self-diagnose, with two-thirds going online for health information and four out of five stating they would use technology to ask clinicians questions. Initiatives such as DigitalHealth.London, a pan-London initiative created to support London as the global capital for digital health are helping to accelerate the adoption of new digital health technologies.

London’s Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said: “The digital health innovations at this event highlight how London’s first-class life sciences, med-tech and healthcare sectors are taking a leading role in improving the health of people around the UK and across the world.

“London is open to talent and creativity, and is the perfect place for digital entrepreneurs to work with top scientists on developing vitally important health technology.”

Globally the market for digital health is forecast to be worth £43 billion GBP by 2018. ‘mHealth’, which is technology such as apps and wearables, is the fastest growing sector of the market with the European market for mHealth expected to overtake North America by 2018 and be worth £7.1 billion.

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Additional research by MedCity this year found that consumers expected advances in digital health technologies could revolutionise medicine over the next 20 years, specifically:

62 per cent of people believe that doctor’s appointments will be routinely conducted by virtual reality

53 per cent believe that 3D printing will be used to produce human organs

41 per cent believe the first cloned human will have been born

Other sectors of emerging realities technology are also proving beneficial for medical technology, such as Olivia, Sense.ly’s artificially intelligent virtual nurse who guides patients through their personal healthcare needs 24/7 – directing them to either a 111 clinician, or to schedule a GP appointment, locate clinical services, or get medical information and advice. Patients can book face-to-face appointments through the app or interact with enabled clinicians in real-time, through their mobile devices from virtually anywhere.

The rapid adoption of realities technology in MedTech is a direct result of the re-emergence of consumer VR. There’s no understating the hype surrounding the technology at present, however looking beyond that to find key case uses is essential for the continued existence of VR, AR and other related technologies. VRFocus will continue to keep you updated with future projects highlighting the unique uses of VR and AR in the medical technology sector.