How Virtual Reality is Transforming Healthcare

Many things can go wrong in the medical field, and there are a lot of patients in and out of treatments that can benefit from virtual reality experiences.

The medical field is a complex one with many complicated tools. As these tools become increasingly difficult to learn and use properly, the entire field is becoming more difficult to learn and perform well in. As medical technology gets more complicated and the United States holds the crown for being the seventh most stressed nation in the world, it’s time that we start using new methods to improve the state of our healthcare system. 

Virtual reality is able to revolutionize the medical world by changing the way professionals train, patients recover, and humans cope with stress at a massive scale. Luckily, those who have already had a taste of VR in the healthcare sector can attest to its success.

Reduce Risk with VR Medical Training

A study conducted in 2019, which analyzed 188 adverse events during surgical care, shows that 56.4% of those events were due to human error. VR can help keep surgeons sharp by enabling them to refresh or refine their knowledge of a procedure anytime, anywhere in a no-risk environment with a virtual patient.

Students who don’t use VR training vs. students who do

In fact, many studies have been done showing that VR-trained students outperform standard-trained students. Training in this way not only improves retention rates over a shorter period of time, it also increases comfort levels and confidence when performing a high-pressure task.

Harder to Learn, Harder to Do

Medical procedures and technology are becoming increasingly harder to use and understand by industry professionals.The World Health Organization has reported that longer learning curves are due to increasingly difficult tools, which often do more harm than good during the training process.

The extended learning tools and difficulty to use newer medical technology is having the opposite effect on learning, especially for more complex and risky procedures. They are leading to poor performance, even after extensive training, which could explain why up to 30% of graduating general surgeons aren’t able to operate autonomously.

Twins Conjoined at the Heart are Successfully Separated

In 2017, Daniel Saltzman – chief pediatric surgeon at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital – dove into a virtual reality where he and his team were able to examine a pair of conjoined twins’ hearts, and eventually separate them successfully.

Saltzman and his team attribute their success to the use of VR to get a deeper look into the girls’ anatomies, saying “The imaging helped us prepare by developing an approach in the event that we came across something we didn’t expect.”

Here’s why this is so revolutionary: conjoined twins only have a 68% chance at a successful separation, and that’s only in the best-case scenario. For twins who are conjoined at the pumping chamber level of the heart, there have been no cases of successful separations. Saltzman’s surgery proved that we can get one step closer to permanently improving these stats by introducing immersive tech into the training mix.

Improve Rehabilitation Efforts

Duke University’s Walk Again Project is revolutionizing the way we think about rehabilitation, and the uses of virtual reality software. They are using a combination of brain-machine interfaces and VR in order to create a system that allows paralyzed individuals to walk again.
After six months, patients who thought they would be strapped to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives could walk on their robotic legs.

Increase Patient Engagement

Let’s be honest, physical therapy isn’t the most enjoyable activity in the world. It’s not something you just feel like doing. Using VR, an engaging and immersive experience, increases a patient’s desire to do exercise for two to three times longer than traditional methods of physical therapy.

Patients Feel More in Charge

Using a VR headset when doing physical therapy offers something traditional therapy never will – independence. While a patient may have a PT professional nearby during therapy, the headset allows patients to take control of the session.

Faster, More Effective Healing

According to a study done by the McGill University School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, stroke patients who used VR to aid in physical therapy sessions saw better success than those who hadn’t.

Reduce Pain and Anxiety

Gaining autonomy over their success and enjoying their sessions is crucial to improving the rate at which patients actually recover. In fact, patients feel less pain because of the entertaining distractions VR experiences provide.

SnowWorld to Reduce Pain in Burn Patients – Eliminate the Need for Opioids

Hunter Hoffman and David Patterson, pain specialists, advocated for the use of VR so much that they started using a VR application called SnowWorld to distract burn patients and reduce their pain by 35 to 50 percent. 

The application is able to shift the user’s attention from their treatments to the icy world they are immersed in, allowing the brain to be distracted from the pain. But the effect wasn’t just physical. Patients’ brains also showed about a 50% decrease in pain-related activity. 

Opioid pain killers have the same effect, but SnowWorld is now able to take over and allow patients to perform other tasks that are crucial to their recovery, like physical therapy exercises, interacting with family and their nutrition.

Virtual Reality Makes Treatments Less Distressing and Reduces Anxiety

A fun VR distraction might just be the answer to painful, unpleasant experiences at the doctor’s office. Who knows, maybe you or your kid will actually start looking forward to those visits
In a study done on the Effect of Virtual Reality Distraction on Pain and Anxiety During Dental Treatment in 5 to 8 Year Old Children, VR proved to significantly reduce pain and anxiety levels for the participating children. 

For patients with OCD or anxiety, virtual reality offers the opportunity to participate in exposure therapy. Exposure therapy can reduce anxiety levels by up to 90%, and even have up to a 65% chance of eliminating the cause of the anxiety.

Performing exposure therapy on these patients through VR can be helpful for medical professionals because it can be performed wherever and whenever. It can also be a more pleasant experience for the patient because they can recognize that whatever they’re being exposed to isn’t actually real. 

Healthcare encompasses a large variety of patient treatments, ranging from surgeries to phobia treatments and mental disorders. Virtual reality can help the industry by revolutionizing the way professionals learn and work, improving and solidifying safety standards in the workspace, and reducing risks when responsible for another human being’s life.
How we take care of ourselves and our health, as well as the way health care professionals treat their patients, can all change with the large-scale implementation of VR in healthcare.
Despite early pilots and deployments of VR in medicine and healthcare yielding so many positive results, we have only just begun to collectively scratch the surface of how this technology can fundamentally change the healthcare sphere.

Create Immersive Experiences to Grow Your Business

For more information on augmented and virtual reality software development, virtual reality development cost and virtual reality programming, please feel free to reach out to us at CemtrexLabs and we would be more than happy to assist. At CemtrexLabs, we make sure to keep our pulse on all things AR, VR and XR.

Our Mission

Our mission is to reimagine how people interact with brands. To disrupt the status quo and uncover values others can’t find. To solve tomorrow’s business challenges in thoughtful, elegant ways. We aim to be strategic leaders in emergent technologies, innovators in user experiences. Our mission is to arm businesses for digital revolution. Check out our VR case studies at www.CemtrexLabs.com for more information. 

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