met·a·verse [ˈmedəˌvərs] noun computing
- A virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users.
For some, when they first hear the word Metaverse, healthcare is not the first thing that comes to mind. Images of a sci-fi movie with robots and avatars might even appear in one’s mind. The truth is, the Metaverse is rapidly gaining acceptance in the healthcare industry. Artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and robots are all expected to change the face of healthcare and enhance patient outcomes.
Traditionally, most Canadians have sought their healthcare through in-person interactions between physician and patient. While we can still think of telehealth as relatively new, it is not a new concept in Canada. Government agencies in Canada invested resources into the development of telemedicine as early as the 1960s. During that period, agencies sought new methods to bring quality medical services to rural populations who may otherwise not receive the care they need.
Over the last few years, patient-physician interactions have changed drastically due to lockdowns during the pandemic. Many doctors started using video calls to help diagnose patients when they were unable to come into the hospital or medical clinics. This shift has led to a greater acceptance and readiness for expanded virtual healthcare—and entering the Metaverse.
What does this mean for Metaverse healthcare communications opportunities?
Healthcare communicators should embrace the Metaverse as an opportunity to engage and connect with their audiences in a dynamic and personal way. Like all successful communications programs, it is about reaching the right audience in the most authentic and empathetic way.
There is a great opportunity to increase innovative disease awareness programs and launch new medicines and medical devices. Through virtual reality simulations, audiences will have the opportunity to not only learn about new offerings but experience firsthand how a product works or is received by a patient. There is also opportunity for greater real-time information exchange among patient organizations and communities.
The Metaverse is already part of our Canadian healthcare system and will continue to grow more robustly and consistently across the country. The same will occur for the communications programs that support these evolving initiatives and systems. What cannot be lost in the evolution is the empathetic and patient-centric mindset we as healthcare communicators need to deliver meaningful and personal awareness programs that ultimately contribute to improving health outcomes for Canadians. The Metaverse will only make these connections stronger.
Tips for factoring the Metaverse into your communications programs:
- Begin to understand the Metaverse—what it is, how it works and how people are engaging with it.
- Weave the metaverse into your communications programs and campaigns. Don’t treat it as a standalone. Start thinking of how it can enhance product launches and thought leadership.
- Take time to learn about it. Discuss it amongst your team and brainstorm. Is it already being used within your company, and if so, how can it be used with communications?
- Try it! Sample a virtual reality headset and see where your creative mind takes you!
Our team of experts at NATIONAL can help you navigate the changes in the healthcare industry. We would love to hear from you.