Why Apple may have just Unlocked the Future of Healthcare

Sam Hannah

June 15, 2023

At last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unleashed their latest game-changing piece of tech which has been on everyone’s lips since. The Vision Pro has taken spatial computing to a new level with a mix of hand, eye, and voice-controlled gestures, further blurring the divide between the physical and digital worlds.

With this comes some very promising opportunities for the healthcare sector. In the UK at the moment, it’s nigh on impossible to get a GP appointment, as we all know, and A&E is more backed up than a gorilla’s shower drain. The ideal solution to this is of course more doctors and nurses to deal with the increased demand as well as the backlog. However, this doesn’t seem imminent, so in its place we need to find ways of getting the timely, quality healthcare we so desperately need. Here are a few ways in which Apple’s new Vision Pro, and the technology it posses, can aid in healthcare:

Video Calls (with Spacial Computing)

We all hate the idea of being on a zoom call with our GP trying to explain what the problem is. However, with the Vision Pro, this type of appointment could become akin to an in-person one. Beaming into your GP’s office from wherever you are and being able to interact with them as if you’re in front of them, and crucially being able to point out your area of concern, could usher in a new age in telemedicine.

Patient Education & Engagement

Have you ever been in a situation where your doctor is explaining a procedure to you which sounds horrendous and complicated, but they continuously reassure you that it’s completely normal and not too invasive? Neither have I, however I imagine it’s rather unsettling. With the Vision Pro, the physician would be able to show you exactly how the procedure works with interactive 3D models, as well as being able to illustrate things like health conditions themselves and other treatment plans. The patient being able to see exactly how their condition affects them and the procedure required as a result could make a real difference with health-related anxiety and to patient satisfaction as a whole.

Real-Time Data Visualisation

In both virtual and physical situations, Apple’s newest venture into spacial computing could make a marked difference in the way that physicians share and discuss their patients’ health data. Instead of hearing a load of numbers, percentages, and confusing data formulae, most of which are arbitrary to most of us outside of the medical profession, you could be shown the physical embodiment of this data in a 3D interactive model. The doctor could then highlight the areas of concern, annotate in real-time, and even demonstrate the procedures required.

As a non-medical professional, it’s difficult to know the scope of something like the Vision Pro in the healthcare sector. Surely there are further applications in the lesser-known fields, but in terms of the patient-physician relationship, the above points would make a huge impact on it and how patients are able to digest their various ailments (no pun intended). Furthermore, to those of you who are in the medical field, are you ready and able to embrace these changes?

What is for certain, however, is that spatial computing is here to stay, and I for one can’t wait to see what it can do.