Healthcare pros show interest in Apple’s Vision Pro — survey

Healthcare is a huge opportunity for Apple’s Vision Pro, with up to three-quarters of US healthcare professionals open to exploring how to use the devices at work, a Tebra survey indicates.

The survey of of 130 healthcare professionals and 1,003 Americans seems well-timed. We’ve seen a cavalcade of health-related applications for visionOS appear since the device first arrived last month. It’s already widely understood that spatial computing will usher in transformative change across a multitude of industries — and healthcare seems ripe for that kind of disruption.

Why will healthcare get spatial?

Why is that? In the most basic terms, these devices enable medical professionals to deliver high-quality care at a distance as long as patients are in front of suitable video cameras. This could quite literally save lives in some situations, enabling specialist diagnosis at a distance in remote areas (so long as there’s an Internet connection).

But the devices are also proving useful during surgery, enabling doctors to monitor vital signs from multiple sources in one screen while keeping an eye on the patient. Training is also becoming a well-travelled path, as medical publishers figure out how to exploit the technology, from 3D models of vital organs to virtualized surgery practice — or even planning full-scale operations.

What all these uses hold in common is that they combine virtual worlds with the real world and advanced computation to deliver more efficiency in medicine. For once, that’s quite a welcome development, as it should mean (assuming political leaders begin making good long-term decisions for a change) that the world shortage that exists in professional medical staff can be eased by empowering those that do exist to achieve more while new talent is trained.

This is why the healthcare industry is taking such an interest in Apple’s tech, something made more intense because of Apple’s additional focus on privacy.

Healthcare data is considered to be highly personal, so you want the technology tools you use to treat, diagnose, and mitigate health problems to be private by design. And that is something Apple works hard to achieve.

Healthcare professionals are already interested

Apple’s tech is resonating already. Almost half (48%) of healthcare practitioners in the US already feel positive about using Vision Pro or similar futuristic technology for patient treatment, Tebra tells us.

The leading use case chosen by its survey group remains medical training and education, but interest in other emerging use cases seems to be evolving quickly. The survey found that the most impactful use cases healthcare pros currently see for the Apple Vision Pro include:

  • Medical training/education, 45%.
  • Telemedicine and remote healthcare, 38%.
  • Diagnostic visualization, 32%.
  • Surgical planning/assistance, 28%.
  • Rehabilitation/physical therapy, 20%.
  • Patient education/engagement, 20%.

Patients are also interested. Nearly one in five Americans would be, “more likely to go to a healthcare practitioner using the Apple Vision Pro or similar emerging technology, while one in four would be less likely,” the survey said.

For some of these uses, Apple’s existing health-related solutions can only enhance the utility of visionOS among healthcare professionals. It’s really not hard to see a version of Apple’s Fitness service offering up physical therapy to post-surgical patients remotely under guidance from Vision Pro-equipped experts. That alone could revolutionize delivery of therapies.

Apple sees a lot of opportunity in health

Apple understands all of this, of course; it showcased some existing health apps during the Vision Pro launch. Since that time, numerous health-focused research projects exploring innovative uses of the device have emerged. (Apple also just published a report in which it detailed numerous health-related projects that already exist and are developing on visionOS.)

That report confirms the spaces in which medical professionals envision use of the new wearable computer, including training, remote care, diagnosis, surgical planning, and AI-enabled menta health support. Nearly all of these were echoed by Tebra’s survey.

Apple also named a series of apps either in development or in use, including one called Fundamental Surgery, which delivers surgical training, and CyranoHealth, which exists to help train medical staff on using complex medical equipment.

“At Apple, we believe technology can play an important role in the evolution of healthcare,” said Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health in the Apple statement. “…The opportunities for health developers to use Apple Vision Pro to help improve procedural planning, education, and outcomes are limitless.”

That may be Apple’s hype, of course, but the proliferation of research studies exploring use of the company’s device on a global basis and the recent survey results tend to back that argument up. The visionOS-driven transformation of healthcare has only just begun. We’ll see where it ends up.

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Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.


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