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Why the Metaverse could be the key to enhancing the healthcare sector

As the Metaverse expands, businesses are looking at new ways to improve the customer experience. The same could be said for those in the healthcare industry, as the Metaverse can bring even more to the table when it comes to health innovation.

We continue to live in an increasingly programmable world, where control, customisation and automation will be embedded in the environment around us. The experts at Accenture understand that the programmable world is about building the next version of the physical world in healthcare, understanding complex layers in order to fully utilise technology to its maximum effect. They describe this process as the "Metaverse Continuum".

There is also a proven drive for change, with 80% of healthcare executives reporting that the number of IoT/edge devices deployed in their organisations has significantly or exponentially increased over the past three years. 97% of healthcare executives also believed that continuous advances in technology are becoming more reliable than economic, political or social trends in informing their organisation's long-term strategy.

Accenture's Digital Health Technology Vision survey took responses from 391 healthcare executives across ten countries to learn their perspectives on healthcare innovation and relation to the Metaverse. It also took insights from 24,000 members of the public globally, looking at their use of, interactions with and beliefs about technology in their lives.

The survey reinforced the crucial point that the "Metaverse Continuum" is a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models poised to revolutionise life and enterprise and that this is a key to promoting better healthcare solutions.

The research also highlighted four distinct trends that show how technology innovations are shaping healthcare experiences of the future:

WebMe: is a technology that illustrates how the internet is being reimagined with the Metaverse as an experience layer and Web3 as a new distributed data layer.

The programmable world: Tracks how technology is being threaded through physical environments in three layers: Connected, experiential and material. Connected is the creation of a connected foundation, experiential builds on the core layer with new development and material constitutes the physical build.

The unreal: Explores the "unreal" qualities that are becoming intrinsic to artificial intelligence, and even data, making the synthetic seem passably authentic.

Computing the impossible: Outlines the outer limit of what is computationally possible as a new class of computing machines emerge with a new curve of compute capability to tackle grand challenges.

While these new innovations are groundbreaking, they do not come without challenges. Most healthcare organisations aren't going to develop these kinds of technologies in-house, so there may be challenges with access and operability.

The introduction of many more connected, intelligent devices also creates new entry points connecting our physical and digital worlds, leading to added complexities and risk. Each entry point opens possibilities for innovation and new kinds of patient experiences, but each also creates security issues. Data security is vital in the healthcare industry, and it's important that when understanding Metaverse technology this is taken into account.

It is also noted that ​​in order to become a healthcare leader in the programmable world, organisations will be required to explore, experiment and develop across all three layers (connected, experiential and material) and work towards "full stack" programmability.

As we continue to move forward in the times of rapid change, it is clear many healthcare providers will be asking what their organisation's role is in this new continuum. A new arena for innovation and healthcare competition is emerging, and if companies are prepared to embrace the full power of the Metaverse and utilise it correctly, then they will ultimately provide better outcomes for all involved.

Accenture has a wealth of knowledge in the Metaverse Continuum, and you can find out more about their Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision 2022 here.

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