Ever since its first debut in the video gaming industry, virtual reality has proven to have great potential to be used in other fields as well. One of its latest and most revolutionized uses is in healthcare.
Generally speaking, the biggest reason why VR can be used in a field such as healthcare is that there have been significant improvements in terms of hardware and software. This means that new life-saving techniques and devices can now be used to diagnose, treat and train a variety of health problems in patients remotely and effectively.
As a result, there have been numerous VR healthcare applications that changed the medical field for the better. From providing education to doctors and patients to watching VR operations happen in real-time, it seems like virtual reality is having a positive effect on patients’ lives and physicians’ work.
Here are some ways how medical VR is changing the healthcare industry.
Medical VR training
One of the great things about VR is that it can be of great assistance in providing doctors and upcoming students with medical training and education. These individuals can attend virtual training sessions and watch simulated surgical procedures through which they can learn more about the human body and its otherwise inaccessible areas.
In fact, many medical conferences are now using VR headsets to provide attendees with an enhanced experience.
During the sessions, physicians are able to practice various treatments on patients and receive feedback about their work afterward. Of course, VR won’t replace hands-on training, but practicing a procedure without any risk to the patient is a great VR advantage.
Remote treatment of patients
Unfortunately, there are patients who don’t have immediate access to medical care. Whether it is because of a health reason such as a physical or mental disability or a geographical one, medical virtual reality can provide remote treatment for such patients in real-time from the comfort of their homes.
For example, people who suffer from severe mental illnesses such as anxiety, PTSD, or phobias benefit greatly from VR treatments. Licensed doctors help them overcome their struggles and fears by placing patients in an immersive virtual environment using a specialized VR headset.
Also, VR has become very useful in speeding up recovery for patients in physical therapy by making the sessions more enjoyable, increasing patient engagement.
If you thought that VR stops at providing only remote treatments to patients from their homes, you’re wrong. Imagine being able to see a real-life operation going on from the point of view of the surgeon.
Therefore, another way how medical VR is changing the healthcare industry is by performing virtual surgeries on patients in real-time.
These surgeries are actually performed by a robotic device that is controlled by a human surgeon at a console. The surgeon wears a VR headset and positions the camera on the body area that is being operated on.
The benefits of such robotic surgeries include greater accuracy and precision, small incisions, reduced blood loss, and faster recovery for patients.
An empathy tool for doctors
Another way medical VR is shaping the healthcare industry is by serving as an empathy tool for doctors. This is a must-have ability that every student and young physician should have to become a medical professional.
With the help of VR simulations, doctors will be able to experience life from the point of view of the patient, especially the elderly who are dealing with particularly severe health conditions.
For example, if a patient is suffering from dementia or Parkinson’s disease, doctors can experience having that condition or being placed in a certain real-life scenario to try and understand what the individual is going through. This helps physicians become more engaged with their patients’ needs and understand their struggles.
There is no doubt that virtual reality is slowly making its way into different fields, especially in the healthcare industry. Its improved hardware and software have become of great help in numerous medical branches, having a positive impact on the entire healthcare system.
From providing immersive medical training and education to physicians to offering remote and effective treatment to patients, there are many top applications of VR that are changing the future of healthcare for the better.