How is the Metaverse set to impact healthcare? Top insights from RAPS

04 Jun 2024 4 minutes

How is the Metaverse set to impact healthcare? Top insights from RAPS

The metaverse, AI and virtual reality technologies are without a doubt going to impact the industries we all work in. As technology develops at the speed of lightning, we are in a collective race to keep up with the changes, remain competitive and on top of the new tools at our fingertips.
As technology advances, so too must the associated legal regulations. Add to that the additional layer of complexity when operating in a highly regulated industry such as healthcare, and the challenge of successfully navigating these competing demands is multiplied.
The global network, Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS) recently hosted its first in-person event in Paris, bringing together a group of France-based medical device professionals to discuss the subject of ‘Metaverse and medical devices: landscape of legal issues’.
I attended to understand the conversations taking place within this industry around the metaverse, which has the potential to improve the quality of healthcare, facilitate treatment and improve patient outcomes.
The metaverse is set to grow into a $427 billion industry by 2027, but how viable will it be as a tool for healthcare professionals? Let’s dive into some of the use cases and their associated benefits and risks.

Better Patient Access to Services

While around 56% of the world’s population lives in urban areas with easy access to medical services, what about the remaining 44%? Here are a few specific cases where the metaverse can assist people who do not live in close proximity to a city. 

  • Virtual Consultations: Telehealth 2.0 within the metaverse allows patients to consult with healthcare professionals remotely. Imagine a patient in a rural area accessing a specialist’s expertise without leaving their home. 
  • Virtual Hospitals: Entire hospitals can exist within the metaverse, providing a seamless experience for patients, doctors, and administrators. These virtual hospitals can handle diagnostics and treatment via remote consultations, and, going further, can enable pre-operative planning and the performance of surgery remotely, as the increasing preference for minimally invasive procedures can favour the use of robotic surgery in some cases. 
  • Virtual therapy and rehabilitation services: Patients in need of extensive and frequent re-education (for example for neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, or for mental health issues) could use the virtual reality technology to attend sessions. 
  • Multilingual options: Language should not be a barrier to accessing healthcare and the metaverse can play a critical role in connecting a patient with the information and treatment he needs in a language he understands, whether by adding a human translator in the loop, or through an AI-powered translation tool.

Support for Medical Professionals

It is not just the patient-doctor face time that can be facilitated by the metaverse – we can also prepare future generations of medical professionals by providing near-real experiences as part of their studies, as well as R&D activities.

  • Immersive Medical Education: Medical students can participate in realistic surgeries, simulations, and case studies within the Metaverse. This enhances their learning experience and prepares them for real-world scenarios. 
  • Research and Development: Medical technology and AI (MeTAI) can facilitate the development, prototyping, evaluation, regulation, translation and refinement of AI-based medical practices. This article published in the NIH identifies specific action items to build the MeTAI metaverse, for improved healthcare quality, accessibility, cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction.

Challenges and Open Issues

While we’re excited to learn about the benefits for patients and health practitioners, on the flip side we must consider the challenges and risks associated with healthcare in the metaverse. 

Regulatory Uncertainty 

  • Digital Therapeutics Regulation: Regulatory pathways for digital therapeutics (DTx) are still unclear across jurisdictions. Creating consistent rules for the metaverse worldwide remains challenging, despite progress in the US and UK. This difficulty could hinder collaboration among professionals from different regions and compliance with local laws. This could make it hard for professionals from different regions to work together and follow local laws. 
  • Language requirements: Medical devices must adhere to language requirements in different countries. For example, the European Commission provides guidelines on language requirements for manufacturers of medical devices (MDR) and in-vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDR). 

Data Security and Privacy 

  • Interoperability and data sharing: Ensuring seamless data exchange between medical devices within the metaverse while maintaining privacy and security is critical. 
  • To operate in the metaverse, companies addressing markets in the EU must adhere to GDPR rules to safeguard patients' personal information, while in the US market HIPAA is in force and Hitrust certification is the framework that companies are increasingly turning to in order to demonstrate their alignment with the law. 

Intellectual Property and Innovation

  • Patents and trademarks: Companies developing medical devices within the Metaverse need robust intellectual property strategies to protect their innovations. 
  • Collaboration with healthcare professionals: Involving doctors and medical professionals in product design ensures safety, effectiveness, and patient trust. 

All this being said, South Korea, a leader in technology adoption, has readily embraced the metaverse. Its public initiatives include Smart Hospitals which integrate telemedicine, virtual consultations, and patient education within the metaverse. The South Korean government also actively supports Regulatory challenges with Metaverse-based healthcare innovations.


In summary developers of digital therapeutics and medical devices within the metaverse have a duty to create safe, ethical, and effective products. Self-regulation, collaboration with healthcare professionals, and adherence to global regulations will drive innovation while ensuring patient safety. 

The metaverse holds immense promise for healthcare and facilitates the union of multiple professionals in the same space, but navigating regulations, ensuring data security, and fostering collaboration are essential for its successful integration. 

The conversations that took place at this first RAPS event in Paris fully placed patient safety at the centre of the debate, as well as underlining the importance of adherence to local regulations around patient information and data security.

As the metaverse continues to evolve, its impact on healthcare will be transformative, transcending language barriers and geographical limitations which makes it even more important to keep in mind the audience's language. Heathcare professionals have a duty to deliver lifesaving information and care in a language the patient understands and will engage with – their lives depend on it. 

To talk further with our team about handling Global Regulatory Affairs, please get in touch

Suzie Towne

Suzie Towne

Communications Specialist
Suzie Towne, SCMP®, is communications specialist for RWS’s Regulated Industries division and has 10 years of international business communications experience in the language services and localization industry. She is the divisional sustainability and ESG subject matter expert. A native English speaker, Suzie also speaks French, Spanish and some German and is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators. 
All from Suzie Towne