According to Dharma Rajagopalan, global head, transaction processing at Conduent, augmented reality (AR) has been looked on mostly for gaming or social media applications—for example, superimposing one set of images over another on a screen. Now, though, his company is looking at AR in business or technical applications, including healthcare. The technology may provide a more direct link between patients, the pharmaceuticals they consume, and the manufacturer offering those pharmaceuticals.
One potential example is to enable a smartphone to call up an array of services and information sources when the phone is pointed at the barcode of a drug container. This is not too different from the wave of applications that were proposed in recent years for QR codes—but the difference now is that AR can provide video, links to chat functions or downloadable content (think, medication guides). Conduent is already an intermediary in a billion business-documentation processes, says Rajagopalan, such as benefit statements for insurance plans, financial statements and others; AR simply enhances this connection.
Anthony Bianchini, GM of pharma/life sciences at Conduent, says that a couple pharma companies are already evaluating the technology, either to assist nurse educators involved in training patients on self-injection, or as part of an adherence program for specialty pharmaceuticals “The growth of specialty and the need for better outcomes makes these applications valuable to the brand owner,” he says. Applications are expected to be prototyped during this year.
The Conduent representatives say that the AR technology is not expensive to apply (at least, in the context of its potential value for patients), and could even represent a cost savings when compared to heavier use of call centers, or delivering extensive hardcopy documentation. The company is also seeking to integrate AR Dara, Conduent's virtual-agent AI conversation platform.