Let's Talk !
Virtual Reality is no longer strictly for gamers. VR technology is being used to train a new generation of medical professionals, as well as treat patients with a variety of health issues.
Table of Contents
Let’s take a look at traditional training for doctors.
In the 1800s, most doctors apprenticed without any formal education. In more recent years, medical students get a bachelor’s degree, followed by four years of medical school, after which they have to complete a three-year residency program where the students receive real-life experience before they can practice independently.
Fast forward to today, when the healthcare industry has adopted Virtual Reality as a new complementary training tool for medical professionals. The healthcare industry sees great potential in Virtual Reality technology. Fortune Business Insights projects that VR tech in the healthcare sector will increase from $3.11 billion in 2023 to $25.22 billion by 2030, growing at a 34.9 percent CAGR annually.
Like people learning to fly on flight simulators (old tech) 20 years ago, Virtual Reality headsets can transport doctors, nurses, and students into virtual operating rooms where they can perform surgical procedures as a lead surgeon or nurse anesthetist. VR provides immersive training in a 3-D environment by creating lifelike simulations of surgeries and real medical scenarios, giving all types of healthcare professionals “hands-on” experience by letting them practice their techniques and protocols without risking lives.
The American Board of Internal Medicine now recommends that medical residents use VR training before performing real-life procedures on patients. Visualize surgeons practicing complex surgical procedures 50 times on a virtual version of the patient’s body before the actual operation. The healthcare industry is also using VR for soft skills. Doctors and med students are learning how to empathize with patients who have health issues, such as dementia, Parkinson’s, a migraine headache, or many other ailments.
According to the National Library of Medicine, VR can play “an important role in improving the performance of different medical groups.” VR training is highly customizable to the specific needs of individuals in different healthcare fields.
VR, however, is not just for training. It is working wonders in patient access and care. VR, where the patients and practitioners wear VR headsets, is a boon for telemedicine, allowing doctors to treat patients anywhere in the world or allow therapists to work one-on-one with their patients.
TIME magazine cited an example at the Georgia Institute of Technology where patients undergoing neurorehabilitation, including stroke victims, benefited from Virtual Reality. As if they were in the same room, the therapist can show patients how to do exercises to help them regain movement lost because of a stroke.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the medical field is using VR tech in innovative ways to treat patients, which include:
Diminishing pain by distracting and occupying the brain, leaving it unable to focus on the pain. The results have been amazing for some patients.
Enhancing physical therapy treatments through motion-enabled games.
Improving memory and cognitive functions by rewiring the brain and improving neural connections used for learning and memory.
Providing a safe virtual environment where patients with mental health disorders and addictions can practice new behaviors, develop coping skills, and boost their self-confidence.
Virtual Reality also keeps patients more informed about their care, thus resulting in better patient satisfaction.
This tech training gives medical professionals more confidence to perform at a high level in real-life medical scenarios. The National Library of Health reviewed dental studies, which indicated that surgical residents “showed significantly greater perceived self-confidence.”
Regarding patient care, NIH articles stated that VR has been effective in improving patient treatment for anxiety disorders, psychosis, and eating disorders.
There are some downsides to Virtual Reality technology, with many users experiencing “cybersickness,” disorientation, nausea, motion sickness, eye strain, alienation, and detachment from reality after long use of VR. Some people could have trouble afterward functioning in real life. High-end VR providers have addressed the issues with these side effects, but some healthcare institutions or professionals may opt for lower-end products, which can be a concern.
With any new adoption of technology, the healthcare industry needs to develop uniform standards for the use of Virtual Reality.
Deepak Borole is a Project Manager at software development company Chetu, where he oversees healthcare portfolios.
Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.
Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.
- See more at: www.chetu.com/blogs