Real World Use
It is especially important that pharma recognize the various applications of augmented reality. In the wake of the recent
economic recession, pharmaceutical companies have started tuning their ears to technological innovations that will potentially
cut costs by replacing sales teams. This is a complete misconception and misuse of technology. Hi-tech applications like augmented
reality maximize the value of pharma industry representatives by making them work more efficiently and arming them with engaging
tools for effective detailing.
Sales reps can gain trust through transparency with AR demonstrations of their product's effects on the human body. For instance,
doctors will be able to visualize how and how quickly a drug passes through internal organs by seeing the process projected
onto a real person. In addition, an AR demonstration can help doctors explain to their patients how exactly a medical device,
like an inhaler or pacemaker, works. Augmented reality can also put lengthy information, such as scientific testing and adverse
effects, at a physician's fingertips, and make data available for review on the doctor's time.
One important lesson pharma marketers will need to learn is that augmented reality is not simply interactive by virtue—you
have to make it so. This means considering how your target audience already utilizes the technology, and how they can adopt
it in a way that enhances their lives. Current applications of augmented reality are location-based, and the healthcare industry
is already experimenting with using AR to navigate patients towards hospitals, clinics, and specialists. Pharma companies
can leverage augmented reality to create useful tools that benefit patient education and compliance, and answer questions
such as: Where can patients refill their prescriptions, and where is the best place for a patient to give herself an insulin
shot? Developing AR software that answers these questions will give your brand the edge over competing drugs by adding value.
Current applications of augmented reality are location-based, and the healthcare industry is already experimenting with using
AR to navigate patients towards hospitals, clinics, and specialists. Another location-based application of augmented reality
is to identify high-risk areas during an epidemic. Pharma can also work with doctors to generate brochures and other educational
materials about your drug for their patients, help patients undergoing surgery understand the procedure, and illustrate the
consequences of improper use of your drug or device.
Most people find it surprising that augmented reality has been around for decades. But it has been right in front of us all
this time. Sportscasters have used it to mark up broadcasts of live games; weathermen use it to make their maps more dynamic.
Despite these common uses, augmented reality has stayed under the radar of most major industries. That is, until widespread
use of mobile phones and other portable camera-enabled devices generated a renewed interest in AR technology. It's imperative
that the pharmaceutical industry not only take notice, but also use augmented reality to change people's relationships with
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act,
as part of the federal stimulus package, providing incentives to healthcare providers who adopt electronic medical records
(EMR). Augmented reality facilitates the meaningful integration of EMRs into day-to-day operations; with doctors and nurses
carrying around camera-equipped mobile devices, they can instantly access the conditions and treatment histories of any patient,
and decide who needs immediate care.
In addition, moving X-ray images can help physicians better understand paralyses and injuries to the human body. Doctors can
study skeletal elements such as spine curvature, and perform range-of-motion testing. AR technology can even aid in the implementation
and testing of medical implants and other internal devices such as pacemakers and hearing devices. It's already clear that
AR will play a major role in revolutionizing the healthcare system. Pharma has plenty to benefit from augmented reality as
Guy Mastrion is chief global creative officer at Palio and co-founder of Pixels & Pills. He can be reached at gmastrion@Palio.com