Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are rapidly emerging technologies that have the potential to revolutionize healthcare. These technologies can be used to create immersive and interactive experiences that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as medical training, education, and patient care.
The Turkish authorities are supportive of the use of AR & VR in medical devices. In 2021, the Turkish Ministry of Health released a white paper on the use of digital health technologies in healthcare. The white paper specifically mentions the potential benefits of AR & VR for medical training, education, and patient care.
The Turkish Ministry of Health is currently working on developing regulations for the use of AR & VR in medical devices. These regulations are expected to be released soon.
In addition to the Ministry of Health, other Turkish authorities are also supportive of the use of AR & VR in medical devices. For example, the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (TİB) has issued guidelines for the development and use of AR & VR applications. These guidelines include requirements for privacy and security.
The Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency of Türkiye (TITCK) is responsible for regulating medical devices in Turkey. TITCK is currently evaluating the use of AR & VR in medical devices. The agency is expected to issue guidance on the use of this technology soon.
Benefits of AR & VR in medical devices:
Improved accuracy and precision: AR & VR can be used to overlay digital information onto the real world, which can help medical professionals to visualize and understand complex procedures and data. This can lead to improved accuracy and precision in diagnosis and treatment.
Enhanced training and education: AR & VR can be used to create realistic and immersive training simulations, which can help medical professionals to learn new skills and procedures more effectively. This can also be used to provide patients with educational materials about their condition or treatment.
Remote patient care: AR & VR can be used to provide remote patient care, which can give patients access to medical expertise without having to travel to a doctor's office or hospital. This can be especially beneficial for patients in rural or underserved areas.
Pain management: AR & VR can be used to provide pain relief, either by distracting patients from their pain or by stimulating the brain's pain-relieving pathways. This can be a useful treatment for chronic pain or pain associated with surgery or other medical procedures.
Mental health treatment: AR & VR can be used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This is because AR & VR can create immersive and interactive environments that can help patients to confront their fears and challenges in a safe and controlled setting.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, AR & VR can also help to attract tourists to Turkey who are seeking high-quality medical care. The country has several world-class hospitals and medical centers, and the use of AR & VR can make these facilities even more attractive to potential patients.
For example, a tourist who is considering traveling to Turkey for medical treatment could use AR to virtually tour a hospital or medical center before deciding. They could also use VR to experience a medical procedure before undergoing it in real life. This could help to alleviate any anxiety or fear that the patient may have about the procedure.
AR & VR will boost the healthcare tourism industry of Turkey:
Enhanced patient experience: AR & VR can be used to create more immersive and engaging patient experiences. This can make patients feel more comfortable and at ease, which can lead to better outcomes. For example, AR can be used to allow patients to visualize their anatomy or to see how a procedure will be performed. VR can be used to create simulations of medical procedures, which can help patients to prepare for surgery or other treatments.
Improved training and education: AR & VR can be used to create realistic and interactive training simulations for medical professionals. This can help them to learn new skills and procedures more effectively. For example, AR can be used to allow surgeons to practice procedures on virtual patients. VR can be used to create simulations of operating rooms, which can help surgeons to prepare for real-world procedures.
Remote patient care: AR & VR can be used to provide remote patient care, which can give patients access to medical expertise without having to travel to a doctor's office or hospital. This can be especially beneficial for patients in rural or underserved areas. For example, AR can be used to allow doctors to examine patients remotely. VR can be used to create simulations of medical consultations, which can help patients to communicate with their doctors more effectively.
Reduced costs: AR & VR can help to reduce the costs of healthcare by making it more efficient and convenient. For example, AR can be used to allow doctors to diagnose patients more quickly and accurately. VR can be used to create simulations of medical procedures, which can help to reduce the need for live surgery.
Potential risks of using AR & VR in medical devices:
Cybersecurity: AR & VR devices can be hacked, which could lead to the theft of sensitive patient data or the disruption of medical procedures.
Distraction: AR & VR devices can be distracting, which could lead to errors in diagnosis or treatment.
Eye strain: AR & VR devices can cause eye strain, especially if they are used for extended periods of time.
Motion sickness: Some people experience motion sickness when using AR & VR devices.
Although, the potential benefits of using AR & VR in medical devices outweigh the risks. It is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before using this technology in a clinical setting.
The Turkish authorities are committed to ensuring that the use of AR & VR in medical devices is safe and effective. They are also working to promote the ethical use of this technology and will publish guidelines soon. This guidance will be important for manufacturers and users of AR & VR medical devices in Turkey. It will help to ensure that these devices are used safely and effectively.