Virtual Reality is becoming more popular every year. Some people think that VR technology is limited to gaming or other entertainment fields, but actually, that’s one of the less interesting ways of using it. Past years have witnessed a significant development in the methods and processes of using VR in healthcare.
Virtual Reality is used in many areas of medicine. Applications like robotic surgery, healthcare devices, etc., are gaining more and more popularity and are likely to be adopted by different healthcare institutions as standard equipment. However, if you are thinking about buying Virtual Reality equipment for your private practice, you should realize the VR market is still in its infancy.
If you want to know more about equipment for your practice, you can just click here, but in this article, we will focus on the application of VR and the latest technologies used in modern medicine.
Applications of VR in Healthcare
The launch of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has made a considerable impact on the augmentation of newer Virtual Reality technologies. Healthcare is one of the biggest industries that enjoy the benefits of this tech.
Various kinds of medical training can be simulated using VR, allowing medical students to practice without real patients. It can minimize the risks of making mistakes and view training recordings of the simulated procedures.
Training doesn’t have to be limited only to students. Sophisticated 3D graphics can recreate any part of the body in detail, and training can be offered using many scenarios mimicking real-life procedures. Surgeries can be video recorded from multiple angles and then combined with the 3D graphics so complicated surgeries can be practiced in VR.
Another advantage of VR is that it can reveal inaccessible areas of the human body. For example, the dissection of cadavers is sometimes conducted using VR googles. In the same way, they can learn how to apply sutures in the operating room, with the use of VR and sensors makes it safer and less expensive than conventional training.
The use of VR can be an excellent diagnostic tool to carry out an accurate diagnosis. One example can be neuronavigation that allows neurosurgeons to visualize the scenario for brain surgery in a 3D model that can be manipulated however it’s needed. It means that doctors can practice the surgery, try different approaches, and asses difficulties before the actual procedure.
VR use is not limited to surgery visualizations. It can help in the therapy of diseases like autism. Consider the case of Manjoy Sazawal, who displayed a fascination with 3D maps and navigation from an early age. Google Earth inspired his parents to try Floreo, which uses Virtual Reality to teach social and communication skills to people with autism. Floreo’s games help kids practice various social skills like nonverbal gestures or joint attention.
Treatment of mental illnesses is changing due to VR; it is low-cost, flexible, and low-risk. Its unique ability to create simulations and scenarios eliminates the need for accompanying patients to malls, tall buildings, or other stressful locations. It is proving effective for working with patients with phobias and PTSD.
One of the newest innovations in the performance of surgeries is the use of robotic arms. The procedure is conducted using an arm-like device controlled by a surgeon. This method reduces time and risks, as the arm is much more accurate, making smaller incisions, reducing blood loss, and a faster recovery time.
Virtual Reality can also shorten recovery time by making it easier for patients to do physical therapy exercises. VR takes the attention away from the sterile surroundings and the pain, providing an absorbing reality that motivates and encourages them to complete their activity. A study by the University of Washington Seattle and the UW Harborview Burn Centre showed that VR immersion significantly reduces pain levels in patients during therapy.
VR Companies in Healthcare
Some of the top companies that create new equipment and generate more breakthroughs are:
This company was founded in 2014 and is best known for its xVision headset used for spinal surgeries. According to Augmedics, it is the ” first augmented reality guidance system for surgery.” The surgeon can look at the patient and “see” his anatomy through the skin and tissue, similar to x-ray vision.
Proprio Vision is a computational imaging company providing enhanced visualization systems for precision tasks like brain surgery. Their technology enables immersion during medical procedures and improves the success rate of surgery.
Health Scholars create AI-enabled VR simulations that are designed for first responders and clinicians. They address the required emergency care training and scenarios in pre-hospital, general care, perioperative, and obstetrical setting. All trainees can relieve their experience, learn from their mistakes, and close skill gaps without real-life patients.
The Bottom Line
Even though VR is relatively new and we are seeing only the first steps in augmenting it to real-life problems, the benefits of the technology are already huge. VR’s popularity is steadily rising in all industries, as it’s becoming less expensive. It probably won’t be long before VR equipment is standard for every practice and hospital.
Virtual Reality can improve surgeries and therapy’s effectiveness and make it less risky for both patients and doctors. This technology’s potential in the healthcare sector is enormous, and it’s limited only by the designers’ imagination and creativity.