Having a health monitoring system for your patients is a necessity for your hospital, however, virtual reality technologies can open up a lot more innovative opportunities for healthcare. Let’s dive in and research what are the benefits of VR for different medical areas and how this technology will revolutionize the healthcare industry.
Medical Professionals Training
Virtual reality is a revolutionary technology for changing the quality of medical education. With the help of detailed, high-quality 3D content, students can thoroughly study each organ and system. For example, with virtual surgery applications, students can train these skills without risking the patient’s health. What is more, this approach is more ethical as it involves the use of 3D models instead of studying corpses.
- improving the quality of medical education
- free access to medical information of the new generation
- a more ethical approach to teaching students.
Test Surgery Runs
Even experienced doctors sometimes face difficult cases where they have only one life-saving attempt. In the case of extremely complex surgery, the ability to make a test attempt would be very useful. Virtual reality provides this opportunity, allowing physicians to perform surgery on virtual patients, assess real risks, anticipate pitfalls, and develop a joint rescue strategy in the event of unforeseen complications.
- the opportunity to continue to improve the skills of the surgeon
- more chances of successful surgery for the patient
- increase in the number of successful surgeries in extremely difficult cases.
The job of a dentist is a lot like that of a jeweler. What’s more, his job doesn’t end with the placement of dental fillings. Modern dentists elevate dentistry to the level of art, for example, when they need to put 32 implants on a patient and keep them beautiful. In this case, technologies of virtual, augmented reality and 3D visualization are very useful. They allow the doctor to create prototypes of future implants, explain to the patient the features of this procedure, and also try on dental implants before they are installed.
- the ability to create better but cheaper implants due to high-quality prototyping
- full information for patients.
Mental Health Care
Virtual reality can also be used to treat and prevent mental disorders, level out fear, overcome stress, and combat phobias. For example, within the framework of the Stop Fear of Flying project, patients go through work with a psychologist, find the inner reasons for their fear and anxiety, plus undergo a test flight on a virtual reality simulator to prepare for the sensations inside the plane.
And this is not the only possibility of virtual reality for mental health. For example, meditation apps allow you to virtually move to the ocean shore or cliff. Also, virtual and augmented reality technologies allow doctors to create a safer and more controlled environment for their patients, which means a better understanding of behaviors, motives, fears, and other information from the subconscious.
- ample opportunities for patients
- more first-hand data for psychologists and psychotherapists.
Certain illnesses and injuries result in the loss of certain skills. So, for example, speech skills are lost after a stroke, Parkinson’s disease provokes thermor and pastoral instability, and cerebral palsy means difficulties in controlling the muscles of the body. Virtual reality can help overcome these conditions.
- virtual reality is an innovative and efficiency-proven way in neuro recovery
- the patient may recover even at home
- there are a lot of already developed solutions that can be easily integrated into a hospital’s business process.
Patient Distraction and Pain Management
Virtual reality technology is almost universal, and entertainment is one of the main opportunities for its application. Moreover, the entertainment possibilities of virtual reality can be applied even in medicine – for example, to help in-hospital patients cope with boredom. Virtual reality applications can also be used to distract patients from unpleasant procedures such as injections or wound care.
Plus, virtual reality can be an alternative for reasonable pain management, such as during childbirth. And work as a distraction at the same time.
- better experience for patients
- the ability to reduce the effects of pain medications where possible
- less stress and anxiety provoked by medical rituals.
Healthy Lifestyle Promotion
Not all people understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle when the mass media, doctors, and scientists have been talking about it for many years, developing new and data-driven recommendations. “Instead of a thousand words” is the best description of the use of virtual reality to promote a healthy lifestyle.
For example, using high-precision 3D models, it is possible to show children and young people what changes occur in the body under the influence of smoking, alcohol, drugs, fast food abuse, a sedentary lifestyle, and so on. Visual images have a greater effect on the brain than text or speech, so this application of virtual reality is promising as well.
- the opportunity to show the consequences instead of talking about them day after day
- global shift in mind and lifestyle.
Dealing with Addiction
A key reason for any addiction is that at some point, a person is no longer able to say no in response to a certain trigger, even if he/she doesn’t want to. A simple example of such a trigger is an offer to drink alcohol at a party with friends. Due to the virtual simulation of such a situation, the psychotherapist and the attending physician will be able to prompt the patient with a response strategy, that is, help him cope with the temptation and say no. Since the brain does not distinguish between virtual and real stimuli, this technique can give excellent results.
- another way to return to a healthy lifestyle
- the ability to deeply work out triggers and responses of the brain so that the patient never returns to addiction.
These are not all the possibilities of using virtual reality in the field of medicine. However, its benefits are universal – cost savings, better risk management, and improved quality of medical education and service. Moreover, virtual reality can help in the fight against global problems, for example, the problem of addiction and accompanying disorders. Over the next few years, we will observe how these technologies are actively introduced into medical practice.