Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Augmented Reality in Healthcare

Patrik Pucer (University of Primorska, Slovenia) and Bostjan Zvanut (University of Primorska, Slovenia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9978-6.ch034
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Introduction

Healthcare is a service activity the goal of which is to protect and improve the health of individuals and populations (Steinwachs & Hughes, 2008). Due to the growing complexity of healthcare the provision of high-quality, affordable, healthcare services is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge (Bates & Gawande, 2003; Steinwachs & Hughes, 2008). Health services researchers are developing and evaluating innovative approaches by involving innovations in organizations, financing, roles of health professionals and use of technology in order to improve the quality of care (Steinwachs & Hughes, 2008). The main classes of technologically driven approaches that allow the increase in the quality of care include tools which can improve communication, make knowledge more readily accessible, assist with calculations, provide decision support, perform checks in real time, assist with monitoring, and provide key pieces of information (Bates & Gawande, 2003). Information and communication technology (ICT) can support such tools allowing them to structure actions, catch errors, and bring evidence-based, patient-centered decision support to the point of care (Bates & Gawande, 2003).

Healthcare professionals can in a simple and rapid way obtain most of the information that they need using ICT (Štern & Kos, 2009). Ease and speed of use at the point of care were initially problematic, however, they appear to be improving, and hand-held devices are being now widely used (Bates & Gawande, 2003). Devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets are used by healthcare professionals on a daily basis to take care of patients (Durham & Alden, 2008; Lewis Dolan, 2011a, 2011b, 2012; Pokorn, 2013). The aforementioned devices enable access to the patient’s electronic health record (EHR) or to other electronically stored information in various formats (written, pictorial, audio or video), all of which help healthcare professionals to be more confident, productive and efficient (Case, Mowry, & Welebob, 2002; Gorman et al., 2000; Gurses, Xiao, & Hu, 2009; Lewis Dolan, 2013; Patel BK, Chapman CG, Luo N, Woodruff JN, & Arora VM, 2012). Healthcare professionals daily use and encounter such digital information forgetting (maybe) that all are virtual objects being part of a virtual environment.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Medium: An agent that carries information through different communication channels.

Simulation: A planned reproduction or duplication of a real process or system.

Simulator: An agent (person or tool) that allows the performance/execution of a planned reproduction or duplication of a real process or system.

Augmented Reality: A reality where real and virtual worlds are merged seamlessly, and individuals in a specific place and time, use the real environment augmented with computer generated virtual objects.

Virtual Object: A computer generated object that can be stored, edited, shared and duplicated digitally.

Virtual Reality: A reality where the user is totally immersed in a computer generated environment which can be a reproduction of the real world or be quite different from reality.

Assistance: Helping, guiding or supporting someone in completing a task or process.

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