The pharmaceutical industry has already started hosting conferences and creating virtual learning centres in the metaverse — HealthLand.io and DeHealth, to name a few. What are the opportunities that exist beyond just conference hosting and conference attendance in the virtual world?
Immersive telehealth Is possible
In the metaverse, building a virtual healthcare facility is no longer cost prohibitive. The virtual world represents an opportunity for the healthcare industry to create an accessible environment for prospective patients to learn about treatment options specifically tailored to their indices of cause and desired outcomes. Virtual activities could be engaging prospective patients on processes of advanced care and complicated care concepts such as paediatrics, oncology, and other "how-it-works" types of questions that patients may have.
In the primary care space, healthcare facilities have the options of expanding their reach in telehealth towards a universal audience and providing a fully immersive experience beyond that of a Zoom call. Those seeking advanced tertiary and quaternary care will frequently want to not only confirm that they have the best team of researchers, doctors, and surgeons, but they also want to understand the process before committing to a multi-year process with their healthcare provider.
When used across multiple healthcare scenarios with advanced care, the metaverse allows healthcare providers to sketch a fully comprehensive journey for patients. Having a child or teenager put on a headset is nothing out of the ordinary and makes it easy for healthcare providers to guide younger audiences through the process of an MRI and takes the strain off parents, who are frequently the only communicators to children of outcomes and processes.
Follow-ups to detect signs before symptoms
Surgeries, recovery facilities, checkups, introductions to care coordinators, but most importantly, the guarantee of having a place to meet even though they may be an existing outpatient located thousands of miles away at home, are why the metaverse is so valuable to the healthcare industry.
For post-treatment patients, the ability to meet with the patients through care coordination, post-treatment follow-ups, especially when the patient does not live in a service area of a healthcare facility but has come to the facility because of its best-in-class treatments, is going to improve the patient’s outcomes because of more frequent contact with the healthcare provider, accessibility from the comfort of their home with nothing more than a mobile phone and an internet connection, and can be used to diagnose any follow-up steps or complications that might occur as a sign long before it becomes a symptom.
Equipping outpatients with a metaverse device is not a difficult implementation from a cost or tech standpoint. Therefore, this drastically transforms the tech team in a healthcare facility from a pure support function to actively influencing a patient’s outcome – transformative IT. This expands the presence and prominence of a healthcare facility.
Engage minority demographics in an inclusive way
In demographics that don’t typically engage with medical services, this drastically improves their engagement post-treatment. While it may not change outcomes of their pre-patient and inpatient frequency, it does allow healthcare providers to improve their outcomes because the underlying hesitation to seek treatment is still there. What has changed, is that there would be a device in the home so that they can immediately put it on and seek care in as friction-free of an environment as possible.
The best healthcare facility in the eyes of the patient is that which can best explain their process to outcome — and how better than to show it in the metaverse.
Humphrey Ho is managing director of Hylink USA.
This story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.