Occupational health provider Latus Health developing VR hospital as it eyes opportunities in the metaverse

Latus Health, a digital occupational health provider based in the U.K., is developing a virtual clinic it hopes will treat 1 million patients a day.

“With the increased investment into, and development of the metaverse by companies like Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft, receiving healthcare in the metaverse is a matter of when not if,” the company said in an announcement. 

The first component to be offered later this year will be a mental health clinic offering services primarily in virtual reality, the company said. Latus argues this approach will eliminate waits at clinic receptions, improve healthcare access and fill the void that patients may feel from being in an environment separate from their provider while using traditional remote services.

The service will store medical records using blockchain technology, which will make the patient the owner of those documents and theoretically keep them at less risk of being stolen. The company hopes to leverage the model to treat patients globally, and intends to market to patients in the U.S., executives said. 

Earlier this year, the company launched Yodha, a platform through which users can receive care, testing and screening remotely. While it’s operational only in the U.K. as of now, the company hopes to expand to the U.S. in the coming two years, CEO Jack Latus told Fierce Healthcare. 

“The whole reason why we were developing this virtual reality hospital,” Latus said, is “because that opens up the ability to deliver those services globally.”

The company will continue watching closely over the next several years to see what the broader metaverse will come to look and feel like, Latus said. Some of the more sophisticated features of the hospital will take up to two years to launch.

Latus sees the ongoing digitization of healthcare services as the key to a sustainable business model, similar to how companies and organizations had to adapt to social media more than a decade ago. He expects the biggest challenge will be getting providers on board, who may at first be resistant to new technology. 

“It’s all about you being the custodian of it,” he said of a medical record. Latus Health currently treats 1 million people a year, it says, but, by creating a virtual hospital, it hopes to remove barriers to access and treat that many a day. Key areas of investment for the company currently include virtual reality, augmented reality, digital twin technology, AI and wearables, Latus said. 

The company has been criticized for testing delays and poor service and was reportedly taken off a government list of COVID test providers.