If the “imaginary patient” lives in his world, the virtual metaverse world, which is expected to be an extension of the real one, invades the health field day after day, through promising innovations and technological devices that provide facilities but at the same time open the door to a group of risks.
Digital health services are witnessing after the health crisis strengthened their spread, including remote consultations, online patient follow-up applications, and the use of artificial intelligence in the field of diagnosis … Now, a virtual world of Metaverse is added to it, which is still under development, and which mainly affects games and festive activities. like concerts.
Pharmaceutical companies have already entered this field, as the American company “Pfizer” invented “Hemocraft”, a type of online game through which people with hemophilia learn to manage their treatment. More recently, American aligners company Invisalign started an interactive dental clinic on Metaverse to encourage avatars (or rather, their real-life owners) to “learn more about the product through a conversation with a dentist or orthodontist.”
In France, the Clinique de Champs-Elysées, a well-to-do cosmetic clinic with a strong presence on social networks, has chosen to organize its first conference in Metaverse on the topic of obesity treatments.
The online conference was attended by a few dozen avatars. In the virtual room, they found themselves in front of the lecturers, who were showing them the possible procedures.
The aim is to enable patients who do not dare to visit a doctor in the real world to inquire by computer while sitting at home.
Although the goal in itself is not revolutionary, the potential applications may go beyond education. In Paris, medical professors Boris Hansel and Patrick Nataf plan to launch a university degree dedicated to the role of metavirus in healthcare in March 2023.
Climates, not devices
Professor Natav Metafers describes it as “an amazing opportunity (…) especially with regard to training, as it will allow surgeons located in two different countries to help each other, and their tools will be able to interact thanks to mixed reality”, that is, the fusion of the real and virtual worlds.
“Our surgery will have a kind of black box, similar to the one in the plane, which enables us after the operation to analyze what we did during it,” he explains.
“Thanks to Metaverse, we can make a person, with all their characteristics, their ‘digital twin’ for personalized medicine,” says Professor Hansel. “We will never replace announcing a diagnosis, or accompanying a patient, with a hypothetical alternative,” he adds reassuringly.
As for the nutritionist Lamia Zenai, who participated in the Champs-Elysées clinic conference on obesity through Metaverse, she sees an important element in this parallel world, and says, “If there is a social stigma regarding a disease, Metaverse with its symbolic characters can help patients, and allow them to communicate with caregivers who guide them in coping with their medical conditions.”
Metaverse has begun to attract investors even though it is still in its infancy. A McKinsey report indicates that investments in the sector will reach $120 billion in 2022. However, Metaverse raises some concerns, especially in the field of health. One of these fears is related to the concerned audience, as some people were unable to keep pace with the transition to electronic public services.
Moreover, who will regulate the use of metaviruses in health and who will monitor what is happening in it? “It should be dedicated to medical teams and have good regulatory frameworks so that young patients are not exposed to a barrage of advertisements,” says Lamia Zenai.
Zenai stresses the need not to forget a fundamental issue, which is the effectiveness of the solutions that might be proposed.
Hansel notes that “the current first stage should witness the identification of needs.” “We don’t need devices, but we need certain climates to be able to treat our patients,” he adds.