|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 6 | Page : 529-530
Advancement in telemedicine and teledentistry with virtual reality and metaverse
Center for Transdisciplinary Research, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||23-Jun-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||14-Nov-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||30-Dec-2022|
Dr. Namrata Dagli
Center for Transdisciplinary Research, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Dagli N. Advancement in telemedicine and teledentistry with virtual reality and metaverse. J Int Oral Health 2022;14:529-30
The trend of utilising technology for dental and medical teleconsultations has become more prevalent, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. The need for telemedicine and teledentistry emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic for pharmacological management of dental or medical emergencies. Still, it is evolving continuously due to its undeniable benefits, such as time and cost-effectiveness. Recently, the metaverse concept has opened new opportunities for remote dental and medical consultations.
The metaverse is a simulation of the real world. The word “Metaverse”- originated from two words––meta and universe––describes a digital virtual environment that combines features of the digital and physical world with augmented reality and virtual reality. The term was first coined by Neal Stephenson in speculative fiction named Snow Crash in 1992.
Metaverse technology can revolutionize remote health care, allowing teleconsultations in 3D virtual clinics. Digital images, known as avatars, represent an individual in virtual environments. With this technology, there would be no geographical boundaries as people can meet up in digital space and interact using headsets irrespective of their location in the real world through avatars. The patient would have access to health care providers globally through virtual clinics.
Possibilities for applications in the health care sector are endless. The main advantages could be-
Virtual clinics: Routine dental and medical consultations could be replaced by consultations in virtual clinics, eliminating the need to travel to hospitals and clinics and wait for hours in waiting rooms for consultations. Thus, saving both time and money. In addition, fewer physical visits also reduce the risk of infection for patients and doctors, especially during disease outbreaks.
Fear makes many patients avoid consulting a dentist and other health care professionals. With metaverse, people can consult any health care professional sitting at home just by using headsets which would reduce anxiety and fear. Furthermore, patients can be counselled to reduce white coat anxiety during online consultations in virtual clinics. The digital environment could be designed in a more patient-friendly manner.
Access to health care experts globally: Experts of various specialities from different institutions can join a common virtual meeting place to study the case and share views. Thus, providing better access to health care providers globally with both time and cost-effectiveness.
Community health education programs: Providing oral and general health education to the underprivileged and those living in remote areas would be possible. Educational programs for public health awareness in a digital environment can be even more interactive and cost-effective than in the real world.
Virtual educational models: In virtual classrooms, 3-D educational models could be used for dental, and medical students to better understand anatomy and surgical procedures. A Study showed that skills in administering local anaesthesia improved after VR-aided training. The curriculum in dental and medical colleges would be more standardised as the same virtual study content could be provided to all students regardless of their geographical locations and institutions.
Augmented and virtual reality aided procedures: Surgeries would be possible with more precision by using headsets that provide X-ray views and enable to see internal anatomical structures. Dental procedures, including randomized controlled trials, periodontal surgeries and implant placements, could be done more precisely using similar techniques.
While this technology has many positives, it can also negatively impact physical and mental wellbeing. It may cause a sedentary lifestyle, addiction, and physical strain with overuse. Privacy and cybersecurity will also be affected. Therefore, guidelines and regulations are required to ensure safety limits before allowing its widespread use.
The significant challenges in applying this technology will be its availability and affordability. If the technology would be cost-effective and convenient, its widespread use would then be possible. Metaverse will revolutionise the overall health care system. Remote consultation would be as effective as in-person consultations. Diagnostic instruments based on artificial intelligence can be designed to aid in the remote diagnosis of various diseases. It is still in the nascent stages of development. It is yet to see how the technology unfolds and contributes to the advancement of telemedicine and teledentistry.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflict of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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