In October of 2021, the annual conference sponsored by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons was held in San Diego, and it became apparent that there were several important trends that would likely become dominant factors during the coming year.

The most important of these trends are described below, so be on the lookout for these to soar into prominence during 2022.

Digital learning will gain momentum 

Many orthopedic professionals are opting to stay close to home, in line with the public preference for avoiding travel whenever possible. This means all the tools, technologies, and resources that provide learning opportunities remotely will be in even greater demand. Some examples are surgical training via Virtual Reality, enabling robotic technologies, and the use of both simple and complex surgical equipment.

Using laser therapy for pain management 

Now that the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has included laser therapy in their treatment guidelines for osteoarthritis knee pain, laser therapy will be used more widely, and more clinics will open to provide services to the public. Since it is a non-invasive form of treatment, there are no side effects and no recovery time needed, and these characteristics provide powerful appeal to patients.

Surgeons and device professionals will make greater use of VR 

Both surgeons and medical device professionals are becoming more aware of the benefits provided by VR experiences and will use this technology to enhance their training and knowledge. Surgeons can quickly adjust to a virtual procedure, collaborate with other surgeons, and practice complex surgical procedures using the technology. Medical device professionals use the technology to better understand their products and to gain knowledge about how to troubleshoot them.

Solutions that scale well will be found and used 

Solutions that scale well are being aggressively pursued by hospitals, medical device companies, and residency programs. Being able to handle large groups of people globally using VR medical training is a very attractive option because it’s a step up from all other types of in-person training. Customized learning environments will also be high on the priority lists of organizations to accommodate language differences as well as other differences in local customs.

New technology will become more important for training 

Medical professionals will make greater use of technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence to become knowledgeable about other technological advances such as robotics and laser therapy. VR, AR, and AI will all contribute to having medical professionals become better trained and more knowledgeable about industry advances, so they can become skilled in their usage.

What the trends mean 

Basically, the key trends for 2022 revolve around the increasing use of technology – and that includes devices used during surgery or other forms of treatment, as well as the technology that will help doctors train and become proficient in the usage of that newer technology. When medical professionals become better trained in the usage of advanced technology, it bodes well for achieving better patient outcomes.


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