Opening Doors to AR/VR in Healthcare

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) were developed to add realism and intensity to video games – but in healthcare, AR/VR has the potential to improve quality of life and even save lives.

That’s the message preached by Jarryd Huntley, a Cleveland software developer, game designer and college instructor. He’s also a Civic Technology Fellow at Microsoft, partnering with Cleveland nonprofit organizations to help advance mission-driven work via technology. Jarryd is the featured speaker at the upcoming Wine Down Wednesday meet-up at HIMSS Innovation & Conference Center in Cleveland – where the topic is AR/VR in Healthcare.

Jarryd is also head developer of the Cleveland Game Developers Network. He explains that AR/VR software was born out of the video game industry, with game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine. Other fields began to adopt the technology, including simulation engineering, architecture visualization, and healthcare. He’s excited about a technology that’s open and accessible – and ripe for innovation.

 “AR/VR is super accessible technology with absolutely free software for anyone to get started with development and be in the forefront of innovation,” says Jarryd. “We’re seeing a lot of adoption in new areas, including healthcare technology – whether it’s making data more accessible or easier to understand or just approaching problems in new ways.”

3D vision brings innovation to healthcare

Jarryd points to examples of how AR and VR technology is already improving the healthcare experience – including using VR to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hospitals using AR/VR 3D models to help physicians better understand a patient’s MRI or CT scan.

“Whenever we look at a computer screen or even a photograph, we’re looking at a two-dimensional representation. But we’re 3D beings living in a 3D world. We’re naturally disposed to digesting 3D information,” explains Jarryd. “With VR or AR technology, we don’t need to go that extra step of flipping something from 2D to 3D in our heads. We can interpret it naturally and see it more clearly – often making something less error-prone. A good example is a physician looking at a scan in 3D and seeing more clearly where blood vessels are blocked.”

For software developers who’ve been working with 3D models, the leap to AR/VR isn’t huge – but for others, there is a learning curve. At the HIMSS Wine Down Wednesday event on September 26, Jarryd will share how AR/VR can be applied to solving problems of the future – and how digital health innovators can adopt and improve the technology.

Diverse panel of experts share experiences with AR/VR

Those attending the Wine Down Wednesday meet-up will learn from a diverse group of panelists taking the lead on practical AR/VR applications in healthcare and education.

  • Martin Tarr is a tech entrepreneur and CEO of 360 Alley developing AR applications for companies, including educational products and games.
  • Rik Shorten is Creative Designer/Producer and cofounder of BioflightVR, specializing in virtual reality medical training and simulation for doctors, students and teaching institutions.
  • Brian Crick is a software developer and research assistant for the School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. He works on studies that explore novel ways of helping people get the most out of their health care, including technology applications.

Jarryd will lead the panel discussion with these experts in virtual reality and game design – sparking ideas on how AR/VR solutions can transform the patient experience in healthcare.

For developers interested in applying AR/VR to healthcare, Jarryd suggests finding more resources through the VR/AR Association with local chapters around the world.

For those in the Cleveland area, RSVP for Wine Down Wednesday held on September 26 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm at the HIMSS Innovation & Conference Center. Beer, wine, and great views of Lake Erie are included!