VIRTUAL REALITY APPLICATIONS IN HEALTHCARE

Virtual reality is the upcoming technology which is going to take over every major industry.  VR provides an immersive experience to the user thus making him view the scenario in 3D instead of 2D on a flat screen. It is already being used in business, education, construction,  tourism, automobile and medical industries although it is in the developing stage. Let’s look at the following ways how VR will enhance the medical industry and its practices. 

  • Better learning in operation theatre

Aspiring surgeons and medical students have to watch the professor perform an operation in operation theatre to learn.  This is a passive method of learning. Through virtual reality the students will be able to observe the operation through VR headset and get the first person’s experience. This will train them to be more confident and prepared to perform the operation in future. Companies like Osso VR and ImmersiveTouch are offering VR solutions to teach medical students. A Harvard Business Review study in an experiment showed that VR trained surgeons are 230% more confident than regular trained ones. 

  • Relaxing patients with virtual reality 

Patients having chronic disease or patients with anxiety and depression can have problems with the seriousness of the hospital environment. Virtual reality can help these patients to ease and relax while going through the treatment.  The environment created by virtual reality would be completely different from the medical environment to help with better recovery of the patient. It will also help pregnant women stay more calm and experience less pain during the time of delivery. 

  • Attending medical conferences 

Images and visuals shown in medical conferences on screen are complicated. This can be improved by showing 3D images through virtual reality headset thus providing a better picture of the body. The learning taking place in these conferences will magnify the event.

  • Physical therapy 

While going through physical therapy, the patient has to move certain body parts in order to repair and heal.  This can be difficult especially in the beginning stage.  Generally a therapist offers the solution to imagine and move the arm or leg. The therapy through virtual reality will offer an experience which would eliminate the need of imagination completely. A patient can be put through various scenarios which can be fun and engaging. This way patients can go through the therapy and recover better. 

  • Identification of serious illness.  

When the patient experiences any early stage symptom of disease, a doctor prescribes medicines and asks the patient to wait.  This can unfortunately  lead to increasing the disease altogether. For example, a kidney stone can get detected after it has increased in size or Identification of Alzheimer’s disease. Advancement in virtual reality would make it possible to explore a patient’s body from inside and predict illness at the earliest stage possible or prevent them from happening at all. This will tremendously help the patient with recovery or the treatment process.

  • Helping with Incurable diseases 

Diseases like autism and asperger’s syndrome are incurable. Autism can only be reduced with therapy sessions with the doctor which generally includes one on one discussion. With the help of VR Technology autism can be reduced to greater extent. It can also help develop social interactions and behaviour in a better way. It can help children having cerebral palsy recover better when they go through VR therapy.

  • Mental health 

Mental health is becoming a rising issue in the modern world. Psychiatrists offer the services in person or online to help with people dealing with depression and anxiety. Through virtual reality these services can be offered  in such a way that can help cure depression and anxiety faster. It can also be used to treat the patients of multiple personality disorders as well as the people having phobias. 

We are just at the stage where we have just scratched the surface of the benefits that virtual reality can offer. As we go deep into this technology and as it gets widely available, it will transform the way medical services are provided and received.

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