VR or Virtual Reality is more than just building engaging games. You can leverage VR’s potential in the healthcare vertical by providing practitioners with tools that render the process of diagnosing ailments and treating patients easier and more efficient. VR is being increasingly used in the medical segment for dramatically improving the healthcare experience.
Through a number of ways, virtual reality application in medicine is being rendered more effective. The fields which are benefitting from VR intervention are broadly discussed below.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Soldiers often fall victim to this disorder. To help them get over the traumatic stress associated with warfare, VR simulations are being made of the actual battlefield. Soldiers are made to virtually go through the events of the war in safe and controlled ambiance. For each battle event which can compel the soldiers to behave violently, methods are suggested to effectively deal with the stress and channelize the aggressive energy through constructive means.
Practicing Surgical Methods
Junior surgeons often accompany their senior counterparts in operation theaters for helping them as well as understand how surgical tools have to be used on patients. Any inept step on their part can subject the patient’s life to the threat. VR, aspiring surgeons get to hone their skills in simulated conditions with 3D dummy patient models. The immersive experience closely resembles actual OT conditions and skills can be perfected with ease.
Devising Effective Ways for Treating Brain Damage
VR is being used progressively for identifying the extent of damage patient’s brain has suffered so as to devise proper remedies for faster recovery. For example, the cognitive abilities of patients are being tested by a VR experience wherein they are required to find their way out of a building through doors of various colors.
For treating anxiety symptoms, meditation and breath control have proved very effective. VR is being leveraged through ‘Deep’ app playable on Oculus Rift gadget wherein the control of the app is tuned to the proper meditative breathing of the user. The gadget has a band which is fastened around the chest to measure the breathing rate of the user.
Training Paramedical Staff
The life savings skills are being imparted to paramedics without risking patients’ lives through VR. VR is used for simulating emergency or accidental situations in highly realistic manner and paramedics are taught ways of handling the pressure situations tactically. Paramedics learn to keep them calm and save others by strategically responding to various critical situations.
VR is allowing chronic pain management by letting patients navigate into the virtual world. An attractive and engaging virtual environment is created wherein the patient’s imagination is let loose. This distraction takes the focus away from pain and also inspires the immune system to better adapt and respond to the treatment course. The peace factor also induces improved meditative quotient in patients by promoting better concentration.
Treating Mental Problems
VR offers psychological advantages to patients by allowing them to relive their fears in safe and controlled environment where recovery therapies can be applied more effectively. One need not spend longer durations in rehab centers. Schizophrenic people can interact socially with virtual peers and evolve as more sociable. Those who are battling depression or chronic anxiety can take their focus away from tormenting trigger points to peaceful and rejuvenating virtual worlds.
The benefits of virtual reality can be realized for rehabilitation programs wherein physical therapies may be rendered more effective through access to VR. The interaction of patients with the particular recuperative environment created by doctors can be monitored more effectively with VR powered wearables. Through VR, context and content of rehab programs can be significantly controlled. The treatment can be availed in a customized manner in the warmth of one’s home. Rehab experts also get to learn about contemporary skills and test their expertise in safer environments without having to practice on real patients.
Monitoring Emotive Quotient of Medial Staff
With VR driven HumanSim software, healthcare practitioners and paramedic staff can interact with 3D patients in a virtual environment. The emotions exhibited by the medical team during the course of offering treatment can be monitored by different sensors. Based on the analysis of the outcomes, training methods can be devised for better emotion control.
Minimizing Invasive Diagnostic Procedures
Virtual reality services can be leveraged through various wearables and sensors placed across various parts of the patient’s body. The readings from the same can be analyzed along with MRI scans and other reports to arrive at the cause of the medical problem without taking recourse to invasive procedures.
Conducting Robotic Surgery
In robotic surgery, a bot conducts the surgery and its methods are controlled by a surgeon. It saves time and minimized complications. VR is being used for training surgeons on ways to better control the movement of bots. Also, VR is facilitating telesurgery wherein surgeons can operate on the patients from remote locations. The VR modules offer reliable insights into the amount of pressure surgeon has to apply on bots during carrying out of critical procedures. However, latency or delay between issuing a command and actual action can impair the efficacy of the surgeon and take toll on procedure. This can be surmounted with VR wherein accurate feedback on the amount of pressure to be applied by the surgeon is provided to prevent any abnormalities.
Applying VR in Various Medical Realms
VR is not only effective in rehab, diagnostic or surgical domains only. It finds application in almost all realms of modern healthcare like dentistry, nursing, therapeutic care, treatment of phobias, extending care for autism, managing health-related challenges, offering recuperative care for disabled etc. Simulation of medical care situations can help in expediting treatment outcomes and making procedures safer. VR deals not only with superficial aspect of treatment but also delves deeper into various dimensions like in phobia treatment scenario, various individual phobias can be comprehensively addressed. VR finds useful application not only surgeries where invasive procedures are involved but also in diagnosis of common ailments more convincingly. The outcomes of VR leveraged diagnosis can be compared with results of X-Rays, MRIs, ECGs, blood tests and scans for assessing the actual reason underlying a particular medical problem. The need for engaging in the alternative, time-consuming and risky procedures of diagnosing is eliminated.
Virtual Reality is being used successfully with Augmented Reality wherein computer-generated pictures are placed side by side with real scanned images of the patient’s body part for projecting on a treated section or devising efficacious medical solutions. It is just the beginning of the journey for VR and it has a long way to go in radically changing the face of healthcare practices.