An ecosystem delivering comprehensive solutions utilising immersive technology

Vuzix, a provider of enterprise augmented reality (AR) solutions, published a survey on Tuesday on the efficacy of immersive tech in the medical industry.

In its report, Vuzix commissioned Censuswide to gather data from more than 500 surgeons across the United States stating their interest in adopting AR smart glasses in their professions. Additionally, it surveyed the adoption rates and perceived benefits of AR for surgeons across regions in the Midwest, South, Northeast, and West of the US.

The findings evidenced widely positive support for immersive technologies across surgical workflows. It found that roughly 25 percent of surgeons had already embraced AR headsets. A further 31 percent actively considered adopting them, and 19 percent had experimented with the disruptive technology.

The South led in AR smart glass adoption and previously reported benefits from using AR solutions at 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

Regarding other US regions, the Northeast, Midwest, and West followed at 26 percent and 19 percent, 26 percent and 14 percent, and 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

Additionally, roughly three out of ten, or 31 percent, of respondents said they would consider incorporating AR smart glasses in their practice. A further 25 percent stated they were currently using the devices.

Education Leads to Improved Patient Outcomes

Insights into surgical education found that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of surgeons had received AR smart glasses training. 25 percent of these surgeons recognised augmented reality as the future of training and its potential advantages over traditional educational models.

37 percent of younger generations aged 25 to 34 responded that training with AR would become the future of surgical education.

Conversely, just 21 percent of respondents aged 45 to 54 believed similarly. Compared to younger demographics, this proved less optimism in embracing AR.

Remarkably, just under half of all respondents (49 percent) stated AR could reduce risks of complications and death linked to human error. Furthermore, 48 percent said that AR smart glasses could boost surgical accuracy, efficacy, and speed via remote assistance.

In addition to boosting patient outcomes, AR smart glasses saved up to $100 a minute in the operating room (OR). For surgeons, they provided remote consultations for rapid patient diagnoses and billing. This involved integrating surgical checklists, safety enhancements, and in-line visualisations and overlays to reduce error rates.

Such innovations could lead to use cases across elderly care, remote guidance, and improving healthcare quality and costs overall, the report found.

Additionally, smart glass comfort, interface challenges, and learning curves, were the biggest obstacles to adopting AR technologies at 33 percent, 29 percent, and 29 percent, respectively.

Additional considerations included battery life lasting during long surgeries and sensory overload at 28 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Speaking further on the findings, Dr Cox, Orthopaedic Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon and Section Chief at the Shoulder Center of Arkansas, added,

“I don’t have to do anything differently than I would normally do in a surgery to get the information that I want. I’m not looking to a peripheral site, or a screen, or a monitor, or anything like that, which is critically important.”

Interest (Adoption) Rates for AR Smart Glasses

Finally, Vuzix’s medical survey found that numerous specialities in healthcare and medicine found varying levels of interest in AR adoption.

At the top of the list, cardiovascular surgery reached 47 percent for current rates of adoption. Disciplines such as podiatric, general, neurosurgery, oral and maxillofacial, and cardiothoracic surgery followed the former at 34 percent, 34 percent, 32 percent, and 30 percent, respectively.

Concluding, Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive, Vuzix, said,

“By providing surgeons with real-time information, remote assistance, and advanced visualisation capabilities, AR smart glasses have the power to revolutionise the way surgeries are performed. At Vuzix, we are committed to developing cutting-edge AR solutions that empower surgeons and enhance the future of healthcare”

The news comes as doctors leverage Vuzix’s M400 and M4000 AR smart glasses. University of Rochester surgeons used the latter headset to improve their capabilities in the OR with a ‘see-what-I-see’ interface essential to mentoring and training surgeons.

Finally, Vuzix’s M400 received critical acclaim after Japanese doctors tapped the device’s full potential for first responders.

The trial run aimed to improve patient outcomes across Japan’s Juntendo University, Shizuoka Hospital, Shunto Izu Fire Department, and AVR Co, Ltd. Vuzix’s Emergency Medical Care Plan aims to boost recovery times for critically ill patients, leading to vital healthcare in emergencies.

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) will use the devices to send and receive patient data, vitals, and video feeds. This readies patients prior to entering hospitals and briefs medical staff on their current conditions.