Virtual reality is no longer restricted to the world of video games. Health care professionals have found a way to incorporate this innovative technology for patient care, whether it is using 3D to inspect for congenital heart defects or lessening pain signals resulting from burns or chronic conditions. This innovation has catapulted health care into the next stage.
VR has reached a pinnacle in medicine today. It has proven to be effective throughout the medical spectrum. As previously reported by MACH NBC News, psychologists have found VR to be highly effective in treating post-traumatic disorder. Not just that, but pain specialists, stroke doctors, surgeons, and many others have found their uses for VR.
Reports suggest that by 2024, the VR market will balloon to a whopping US$44.7 billion, and the medical industry is also incorporating VR to provide the best to their patients.
Here are three powerful ways in which VR is revolutionizing the medical world.
Phobia and PTSD Therapy
The influence of VR in treating mental issues has been increasing with each day, especially for phobias and PTSD. This is not some new practice though. In fact, since 1997, VR has been used to treat soldiers who have PTSD, and today its effectiveness and use has only been amplified.
PTSD is a deteriorating condition, and treatment is challenging to administer. However, VR is proving to be a very commendable treatment. Medical professionals cautiously expose the patient to the triggering stimuli, which can potentially hasten the recovery process.
A similar approach treats phobias. Slowly exposing the object of fear in a virtual environment can minimize phobia.
Medical professionals can effectively use VR in conjunction with other therapy, medications, or treatments.
Anxiety and Pain
Patients are donning VR to engross themselves in the virtual world and take their minds off from the discomfort resulting from their medical problems and procedures.
Sedation and anesthesia can often be risky for elderly or very frail patients. As a result, hospitals are recommending VR headsets to their patients as a means of minimizing the pain during minor procedures. Even for patients undergoing chemo infusions, VR has been very effective in reducing anxiety. It is even making receiving injections and other painful procedures less frightening for children.
But perhaps burn patients are the biggest beneficiaries of VR treatment. SnowWorld, a game created by psychologist Hunter Hoffman, has proved to be very useful in distracting the patients from the pain. According to results produced from a preliminary test, patients reported up to 50% reduction in pain while playing the game in comparison to patients who did not engross themselves with the game.
Surgeons are successfully utilizing VR to plan intricate operations. VR makes it possible for the surgeon and their team to test run the surgery beforehand and even carry out full rehearsals. This allows for reducing any surprise they may encounter during the operation. It also increases the success rate, and makes it safer for their patients.
With the help of ultrasound scans, MRI, and CT, it is possible to create very detailed virtual human bodies. Surgeons can then use those to plan and rehearse a particular surgery.
At Minneapolis Masonic Children’s Hospital, doctors were able to carry out an operation to separate conjoined twins successfully. They utilized VR technology to inspect inside the patients’ organs, pinpoint probable complications, and design a plan for the surgery.
VR dramatically minimizes the chances of failure and makes the overall operation safer. With the help of this technology, medical students are also able to intricately practice the procedures before carrying them out on patients.
The impact of VR in medicine is undeniable. This offers a whole lot of possibilities and allows for new treatment options as well. When it comes to medicine, there should be no compromises, and only the best and most effective should be offered. And now, with the aid of VR, patient care game is being reshaped like never before.