TechDogs-"Meta Is Taking Healthcare Down The VR Route But Needs To Address Challenges First!"

Emerging Technology

Meta Is Taking Healthcare Down The VR Route But Needs To Address Challenges First!

By TD NewsDesk

TD NewsDesk

Updated on Mon, Sep 11, 2023

Overall Rating
Welcome to the epic saga of “When VR Met Healthcare.”

In this tale, we have Virtual Reality, better known as VR, a hero that has captured the world's attention for years, transforming various industries. On the other side, we have healthcare. Now, VR's potential has sparked excitement as it looks to revolutionize healthcare!

That may sound a little futuristic but VR has already become a part of healthcare. Well, a report highlights a groundbreaking move of Dr. Jake Shine, a third-year orthopaedics resident at Kettering Health Dayton in Ohio, who harnessed the power of virtual reality just days before his first significant shoulder replacement surgery.

Any guesses who acted as a helping hand to Dr. Jake Shine? It's one other than Meta's VR technology! Yes, you read it right – Meta's VR technology is helping surgeons like Dr. Jake Shine with the training part and treating patients. The same report highlighted how Dr. Shine, alongside his attending physician, entered the medical center's designated VR lab equipped with Meta Quest 2 headsets.

According to Dr. Shine, with VR, "You can really fine-tune and learn what to do, but also what definitely not to do, with zero risk to the patient."

TechDogs-"An Image Showing How VR Is Helping Healthcare."
Meta is no newbie in VR town as its virtual roots go a long way back. Let's see when it all started:
 
  • This transformative technology, Virtual Reality, has its roots in Meta (formerly Facebook), which entered the VR market in 2014 with the acquisition of Oculus. Over the years, Meta has continued investing heavily in developing virtual and augmented reality technologies. 
  • In 2021, the company rebranded as Meta, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg committing to invest billions in building the metaverse, the internet's next frontier.

While consumer VR remains a niche product, it is gaining traction in healthcare, demonstrating its potential as a valuable tool for medical professionals. Now, you might wonder how VR is helping the health sector!
 
  • VR's applications in healthcare extend beyond medical training, with pain management standing out as a prominent area of focus. Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, explained how VR can help alleviate both physical and emotional components of pain. 
  • "It's very hard to keep track of pain when you're in a fantastical cyberdelic world," said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. By immersing patients in a virtual world, VR can redirect their attention away from their discomfort, providing a unique approach to pain management.
  • Besides, there’s also this broader category of "extended reality" that encompasses both fully immersive VR headsets like the Meta Quest 2 and augmented reality (AR) devices that overlay digital information onto the real world. 
 
However, this journey of When VR Met Healthcare also has a prequel – one showcasing its challenges. What challenges, you may ask!
 
  • A report showed how VR is gaining prominence in healthcare and tech giants like Apple are joining the race. Apple is preparing to launch the high-end Vision Pro VR headset, targeting premium users which may increase market competition for Meta. 
  • Moreover, this journey has not been without its financial challenges, as Meta's Reality Labs unit, responsible for VR and AR development, reported losses exceeding $21 billion since the beginning of last year.
  • On top of it, now Meta is facing legal challenges. A U.S. federal judge ruled that Meta must confront a lawsuit alleging medical privacy violations. The lawsuit claims that Meta violated federal wiretap laws, California privacy laws and its own privacy promises related to healthcare data. 
  • As per the report, in a 26-page decision, the judge said the case, based on the evidence so far, "does not negate the plausible allegations that sensitive healthcare information is intentionally captured and transmitted to Meta." The report further explains, "Meta Pixel provided sensitive information about their health to Meta when they logged into patient portals, where the tracking tool had been installed, enabling Meta to make money from targeted advertising."
  • Another major question arises regarding whether this technology can become cost-effective across the entire medical industry.

While these challenges pose open questions, early tests reveal VR's immense potential to improve healthcare outcomes. Meanwhile, Meta plans to release Meta Quest 3 soon!

Do you think as the competition heats up among tech giants, there will be more promising outcomes for the healthcare sector? Would these tech giants be able to cope with data privacy and ethical considerations?

Feel free to drop your thoughts in the comments section below!

First published on Mon, Sep 11, 2023

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Tags:

Virtual Reality (VR)Meta Meta Quest 2 Healthcare Healthcare Sector Emerging Technology

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