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Augmented Reality in Healthcare: 4 Ways New Technology is Saving Lives

When it comes to medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical engineering, even the tiniest mistake could mean the difference between life and death. As a result, the industry employs some of the most advanced methods possible, including the use of sophisticated AR technology.

But the benefits of augmented reality in healthcare extend far beyond medical device manufacturing and pharmaceutical engineering. From the quality of care a patient receives to the enhanced performance of medical professionals, the number of AR applications for healthcare will continue to grow as the technology evolves.

We assembled the following list to give you a better sense of how AR is currently being used in healthcare.


1. Finding the Vein with AR

One of the biggest struggles for any nurse is accurately identifying a patient’s veins during venipunctures and other vascular access procedures. Today, new AR technology makes it possible to find veins easier. Companies like AccuVein use augmented reality-enabled handheld scanners that project a map of peripheral veins onto the skin’s surface and guide medical professionals to the precise areas a patient’s blood vessels are located.


2. AR for “External” Internal Anatomy

Illuminating hard-to-find veins is one thing, but what if you could use augmented reality to project medical images such as CT scans and MRI data directly onto a patient’s body? A new AR system called ProjectDR is bringing it into practice.

The technology uses advanced infrared cameras and markers on a patient’s body to enact a motion-tracking system, with projectors displaying the medical images. The custom software of ProjectDR can track properly on the patient’s body even as they shift and move. Applications for this innovative healthcare technology include teaching, physiotherapy, laparoscopic surgery, surgical planning and more.

3. AR for Medical Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Engineering

In an industry where the stakes are high, manufacturers and engineers must be confident their products are built the same way every day, every shift, every time. But human error is all too common, making it difficult to maintain a high level of consistency.

LightGuide Systems’ projection AR technology offers the ability to guide operators through an assembly process using a series of easy-to-understand visual and audio prompts. Use of this AR software results in consistently high product quality, diminished assembly times and higher returns.

LightGuide Systems even creates a “digital birth certificate” for every individual part, giving healthcare manufacturers the ability to trace the process in which a product was made, and – in the event of a quality defect – pinpoint exactly where and when a process issue occurred.


4. AR for Operating Room (OR) Assistance

In the operating room, tactical precision is of critical importance. Often during surgery, large incisions are made in order to give doctors a better field of view. But AR tools will soon exist that allow medical professionals to see inside a patient’s body with much smaller cuts.

With an augmented reality headset, surgeons can see a 3D map of a patient’s internal organs, veins, tissue and bones projected onto their body while lying on the operating table. Doctors can even tag these virtual body parts with notes to help guide their procedure more efficiently. This potentially revolutionary medical AR software – which is still in development – can also reconstruct accurate 3D models of tumors and growths to better empower surgeons with what is essentially x-ray vision.


If you’re looking to transform your medical process with AR, send us a message. A member of our solutions team will be in touch to discuss the challenges you’re facing and talk through various applications that can benefit your operations.