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Augmented reality and virtual reality

One of the many technology areas we're advancing for health care.

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What are augmented reality and virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive experience where a digital simulation surrounds you entirely, usually as you wear video goggles. Augmented reality (AR) is similar. But instead of immersing you in the simulation, AR adds digital images and sounds to the real world as you view your environment on a phone or tablet. In other words, VR replaces your environment, while AR adds to it. Together these are sometimes called “immersive technologies.

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How AR and VR help health care

Health care providers can use AR and VR to help them treat their patients’ phobias, anxiety, substance abuse or depression. These technologies can also help with pain management. In addition, VR can improve the ways we train health care staff in patient empathy or even surgical procedure protocols. And AR can be used to enhance explanation of benefits, delivery of care and health care education.  

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What Optum is doing with AR and VR

Optum is working on AR and VR prototypes that could help doctors view patient information in seamless ways that are integrated into clinical settings. 

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