4 ways virtual reality is improving healthcare

By: Penta Editorial Team

Have you ever imagined being able to swim with dolphins in the ocean while resting in your hospital bed? Would you like to experience your 70th birthday while you are in your 20s? Or what do you think it would be like to attend a dangerous surgery from the comfort of your chair?

When we think of virtual reality, we tend to associate it with the entertainment genre; And while it does offer multiple options to enhance the gammer experience, it has also made significant improvements in the lives of people with autism, brain trauma, and other health conditions, in addition to providing physicians with a very useful tool for training, remote treatment , and disease awareness.

So today we present 4 four ways in which virtual reality is improving healthcare.

Observe the operations as if you had the scalpel

Have you ever wondered what is going on in an operating room? What are those doctors and nurses doing dressed in blue or green with masks on their heads?

Since the first live operation using virtual reality in 2016, this technology has enabled more than just passively viewing an operation from the surgeon’s point of view. It is now being used to train aspiring surgeons and for specialists to perform operations.

Virtual reality also offers solutions to train surgeons and / or hone their skills, demonstrating that these types of methods are better than traditional ones. In fact, a Harvard Business Review study showed that virtual reality-trained surgeons had a 230% increase in overall performance compared to their traditionally trained counterparts.

 Advancement in autism therapies

According to the CDC, 1 percent of the world’s population has an autism spectrum disorder. At the moment, there is no cure. However, speech and language therapy can help improve a person’s communication skills and social interactions. Using virtual reality both parents and doctors can instigate social interactions with autistic children by stimulating them through virtual characters. Apart from this, the parent or doctor can also adapt virtual environments and choose the sensory complexity within them.

Help doctors experience life as the elderly

Have you ever wonder what it feels like to get old? How does it feel not to be able to raise your hand above your head? How does it feel when you have lost one of your fingers or are recovering from a heart attack? Experiencing such conditions through virtual reality can help young medical students and doctors develop one of the must-have skills to become a doctor: empathy.

The University of New England tested this theory by incorporating simulations of age-related conditions through virtual reality into the medical school curriculum. Participating students were found to better understand these conditions and saw an increase in their empathy for the elderly.

Accelerating recovery after brain injury

It has been widely accepted that the sooner a stroke survivor begins rehabilitation, the better their chances of regaining the functions they have lost. Thanks to virtual reality, patients can practice how to move their fingers or raise their arms in a fun way. Although patients do not perform the actual movement, their engagement, motivation, and attention are markedly enhanced with audiovisual feedback, which could accelerate the recovery of traumatized nervous systems.

Undoubtedly, virtual reality applied to medicine has fascinating possibilities and although the field is relatively new, its scope is increasing, generating positive experiences both in the lives of patients and in the health professionals.