Dr Timothy Witham, the surgeon who performed the world’s first spinal surgery using augmented reality (AR) with a head-mounted display, will take part in the upcoming Arab Health’s Future Health Summit in Dubai.
Arab Health 2023 will take place from January 30 – February 2, 2023 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai.
Dr Witham, who is a professor of neurological surgery and orthopaedic surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will lead a discussion on the opportunities and benefits alternate realities will have on the healthcare industry, outlining the tools available to make surgeries safer and more effective, and faster and more efficient.
“The definition of AR is when you take a computer-generated image and overlay that image on your view of the real world. Within AR, in contrast to virtual reality (VR), where you’re interacting with the virtual world, we're interacting with the real world, but we have additional computer-generated images that are being used concurrently to project digital information onto the existing surroundings,” said Dr Witham.
“In 2020, we conducted the first augmented reality spinal surgery using a head-mounted display. This was achieved using an AR-enabled head device with the digital augmentation of a CT scan taken earlier. Ultimately, while we were operating and looking inside the patient, we had the CT scan right there in our field of vision.
“Since then, I’ve performed over 150 surgeries using AR, and I can say it’s at least as good as robotics while also making huge inroads into minimising the need for repeat surgeries due to misplaced spinal implants. It could also be the first step towards all surgeries being performed using AR,” he added.
As part of the Summit, discussions will focus on the metaverse and the opportunities it has to impact healthcare by taking advantage of artificial intelligence (AI), VR and AR to improve patient outcomes.
“Thanks to new technology in the healthcare sector, preventive medicine will take on a new meaning. Blood analysis will become more advanced to the extent that it will outline your entire genetic makeup. Based on that, AI will make predictions on cancer risk or spine problems, for example. We will then be able to implement restorative or regenerative procedures to prevent the issue before it becomes an issue requiring treatment,” explained Dr Witham.
With research from Market Research Future suggesting the healthcare metaverse market could be worth over $5.37 billion by 2030, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 48.3%, the Future Health Summit will provide an invaluable look at how everyone within the healthcare ecosystem in the industry can maximise the opportunities it affords.
The Future Health Summit takes place on February 2 at the Museum of the Future from 11 – 2 pm. The invite-only, fully immersive event for C-suite executives from the healthcare industry will take a deep dive into the future of healthcare and the possibilities in the Metaverse. World-renowned industry leaders, visionaries, metaverse experts, authors, and futurists on the topic will offer their insights.
Reem Salah, Director – Leadership Healthcare Events, Informa Markets, commented: “The Future Healthcare Summit promises to be one of the highlights of Arab Health in 2023. The programme has an incredible line-up of industry experts who will outline the opportunities within the healthcare sector created by standout technologies, presenting an ideal opportunity to network and engage with industry leaders.
“The Dubai Metaverse Strategy was only launched earlier this year, so this will also be a timely and appropriate platform to discuss this exciting ‘virtual revolution’, assessing its technological facets and the positive impact they will have on the future direction of healthcare across the Middle East.”
In addition to the Future Health Summit, visitors to the Arab Health 2023 exhibition will also be able to witness first-hand the innovative ways technology is transforming healthcare delivery. –
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