Virtual reality is a virtual world you can experience with the help of a headset. VR makes it possible to create real-life situations that affect the brain even if it’s not reality.
It is ready to revolutionize the healthcare industry in the coming years and has untapped potential to take the industry by storm. The global VR portion in the healthcare market was estimated at $240.91 million in 2018 and is expected to exponentially rise to $4.64 billion in 2025. The main reason for its growth is that it enables easy integration of IT solutions in all aspects of healthcare that transform patient care.
VR treatments work best if the patient receives help from a therapist who presents a plan for how the patient can be aided in the best way. The therapist should also be involved in monitoring the treatment and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
In this article, we look at 5 facts you should know about VR healthcare before starting treatment.
VR for Medical Education
The healthcare sector is one of the key investors in VR-based learning since it ensures effective and safe medical education.
Virtual reality provides a more effective theoretical learning of medical students and healthcare professionals who are just starting. With the help of VR, learners can inspect 3D medical models in the details, which is impossible to be reproduced in physical models, or learn to establish communication with AI-controlled virtual patients, whose attitude and behavior can be easily changed for various learning purposes – for instance, communicating with patients who are non-native English speakers.
When it comes to medical education, any virtual learning session can be carried out in groups or individually and led by a real tutor, who is also connected to the VR app or they can be guided by a virtual preprogrammed tutor controlled by the AI algorithms.
VR for Medical Training
VR software that focuses on practical medical training is of major help for medical school graduates and healthcare professionals to acquire hands-on skills in conditions that don’t pose any risks. This type of VR allows healthcare professionals scenarios that are hard, dangerous, or costly to recreate in real life to be simulated.
VR for medical training works in the way that after entering a VR-simulated environment, a user becomes a part of a training scenario with the expectation to complete predetermined steps in, for example, performing a medical procedure or working with specific medical equipment. The actions taken are continuously recorded by a separate analytical module which assesses a medical professional’s level of performance based on previously set criteria.
VR for Pain Management
Virtual reality pain management applications have proven to help reduce the level of pain or extreme discomfort by effectively diverting a patient’s attention. With this type of VR healthcare, the use of potentially harmful painkillers can be minimized and the huge healthcare costs can be reduced.
VR pain management helps a patient in either becoming a part of an interactive gamified experience after being immersed in the VR simulation, or being transferred to a highly realistic environment with a calming atmosphere that, along with audio stimulation, helps them relax and put their mind at ease.
VR for Rehabilitation
As rehabilitation exercises have been moved into the virtual realm, VR has turned therapy sessions for patients into a unique gamified experience that motivates users to work for better results via virtual goals and accomplishments. The AI built in the software provides detailed guidance and complete support in lieu of a real therapist, allowing affordable and flexible individual rehabilitation.
VR for rehabilitation works through a VR app that guides patients through their training program that is stored in the software database. A healthcare therapist is then able to edit the program whenever they need to and control the outcome via the app’s analytics module or by virtually joining the VR session as an instructor.
By putting on a VR headset with the loaded scans and images, patients can get a preview of the surgery that the doctor wants to perform to help them better understand the process.
Psychiatrists and psychologists also use VR techniques to help patients suffering from bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. The simulations put people in stressful situations so that doctors can show them when they occur and provide them with tools for self-management to teach them how to cope.
This was only a short list of facts and examples of how VR is becoming a more prominent feature in healthcare. We’re witnessing a huge increase in the use of VR in healthcare by both medical professionals and patients, who are slowly bringing it to the forefront.