The metaverse has been hyped by billion-dollar investments and big ideas of what might be possible in a new universe that’s still being built. Many sectors, including healthcare, are thinking outside the box to define their metaverse presence and attract new users by interacting with avatars.
There is plenty of uncertainty as to what the metaverse will ultimately become and how businesses can turn ideas into digital realities.
Let’s take a look at what we know about the metaverse so far and what it might mean for healthcare providers.
What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual world accessed through mainstream digital channels like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These online environments, so far mostly used in gaming and entertainment, are immersive, experiential, and interactive.
Because it’s still evolving, there’s no clear answer as to whether the metaverse is truly the internet of the future. Some of the components that make up the metaverse are already widely deployed like the use of blockchain—a shared and secure ledger that records transactions and tracks assets—non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The metaverse is very popular within the video game industry, especially in offerings like Roblox and Fortnite, but what remains to be seen is just how much adoption other sectors see.
What Does Healthcare Look Like in the Metaverse?
While healthcare has some clinical AR applications like assisting in surgeries, the metaverse isn’t yet relevant to the sector as a whole. It’s still an unknown with lots of potential. For instance, after the pandemic necessitated a rise in telemedicine visits, some are wondering if appointments can even be held in the metaverse.
Perhaps electronic health records (EHRs) end up on the blockchain and patients use their own data as a form of currency, where they can temporarily grant access to a healthcare provider when they’re receiving care and rescind it when their appointment is over.
There are hurdles to consider as well, like the privacy aspect of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in a largely anonymous, virtual world, and the fact that EHR would require a greater computing capability because years of health records produce much more data than cryptocurrency transactions.
What Can Healthcare Providers Do to Prepare?
Being able to do business in the virtual world requires digital tools, which we know patients want to use. According to our recent study with PYMNTS, “35% of bridge millennials and other younger patients are willing to switch healthcare providers to find better digital healthcare management tools.”
Rectangle Health’s flagship product, Practice Management Bridge®, offers a suite of solutions to assist providers in managing and processing payments including online payments, Text-to-Pay, mobile payments, and patient financing.
Before the internet became a technological revolution that advanced everything from how we shop to how we receive medical care, it was a giant question mark. No one knew what the future would hold, but Rectangle Health had the foresight to recognize that the internet could be a vector for getting healthcare practices paid quickly and reliably.
Nearly three decades later, Rectangle Health continues to provide healthcare practices with top-of-class payment and engagement solutions like contactless payments, customizable messages to patients, and digital registration forms.
If the metaverse evolves from its current state of uncertainty to a more mainstream venue, Rectangle Health will once again be among the pioneers, bringing that technology to healthcare providers. For nearly 30 years, healthcare providers have counted on Rectangle Health to provide a simple, safe, and secure platform when a new technology becomes available to simplify the patient-provider relationship.
- Marr, B. (2022, February 23). The Amazing Possibilities of Healthcare in the Metaverse. Forbes. Retrieved online March 22, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2022/02/23/the-amazing-possibilities-of-healthcare-in-the-metaverse/?sh=7d55af489e5c.
- The Debrief. (2022, January 8). WILL YOUR NEXT DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT BE IN THE METAVERSE? Retrieved online March 18, 2022, from https://thedebrief.org/will-your-next-doctors-appointment-be-in-the-metaverse-metaversehealthcare/.
- PYMNTS.com. (2021). Connected Healthcare: What Consumers Want From Their Healthcare Customer Experiences. Retrieved online March 18, 2022, from https://www.pymnts.com/study/connected-healthcare-experiences-digital-in-person-medical-visits/.