Despite being the talk of the town, the 'metaverse' won't enter digital health anytime soon

When Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, reorienting its goals for the future, the technology sector took notice. However, despite the metaverse — an interactive digital environment — making for popular headlines, healthcare won't see its effects for a long time, according to a Feb. 7 Rock Health report.

Healthcare leaders, though, are taking interest in the technologies and are beginning to invest now, playing the long game. According to the report, in 2021 investors paid $198 million for U.S startups using virtual reality or augmented reality for healthcare and wellness, up from $93 million in 2020. However, this funding represents a small fraction of overall digital health funding, making up less than 1 percent of the total. 

There are several companies experimenting with AR and VR for healthcare that have already formed partnerships with hospitals, such as ThirdEye's AR glasses for first responders. These partnerships are not yet commonplace, but use cases can be expected to improve with time, according to Rock Health.

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