VR technology already saves people’s lives, helps patients who suffer from different ills and helps doctors in some disciplines of medicine — from surgery to rehabilitation. With every passing month, the variety of devices and applications is increasing which contributes to faster developing VR in medicine. That’s why we can safely assume — using VR in medicine is going to become the norm soon. Nowadays VR technology takes precedence not only over entertainment but has been also slowly penetrated in other spheres. According to the analysts’ projections from Goldman Sachs, VR will be actively integrated with the next 8 key industries: healthcare, real estate, retail, events, video production, education, engineering, army. Let’s make a more detailed review of the first one. How far VR has got inside in the work of the medical community and what we can expect in future?
The most effective way of using VR today can be found in psychotherapy. It helps, in particular, to struggle with the different kinds of phobia — fear of heights, spiders, darkness and etc. Under close supervision, the patients immerse in the virtual reality in some comfortable space where they face their psychological problem.
According to the report of consulting company Industry ARC, VR/AR reality market in medicine will reach 2.54$ million by the year 2020. Based on their research, specialists are focused now on two main directions: training for doctors and rehabilitation of patients.
The other biggest medical activity that gets only better with the help of VR is training for future specialists. As far back as 2014, Shafi Ahmed performed an operation to remove cancer by broadcasting the course of the operation in Google Glass for 13 000 students. Such an experiment let the audience to observe the whole process with their own eyes in real time and even ask this doctor questions.
VR is already helping amputees to get rid of phantom pains. In Sweden in the Chalmers University of Technology, the experiment was conducted. Patient with an amputated hand could see how he was driving a car in the virtual reality. The motion sensors have been hooked up to his limb. His brain got the visual confirmation that his amputated hand was moving and reacting on movement. The intensity and frequency of pain have decreased after the experiment.
Virtual Reality is certainly an evocative technology. It seems that the use of Virtual Reality as a tool has reached quite far and wide past few years. This is actually massive, and while we are only in the early phases of figuring out just how the use of VR accelerated a tremendous achievement. Although VR indeed is believed to mark its major portion in the gaming sector, there are several instances where VR has made some serious implications in the lives of people and tried to change the overall face of the healthcare segment. We can say Medical VR is enriched with endless possibilities and even when the area is freshly introduced there are already some great examples of VR embarking a positive effect on the lives of both patients and medical practitioners. Let’s find out how.
Virtual Therapy: VR is taking off in the film and gaming industries, and now the medical profession are taking interest. New software is helping patients around the world to relieve mental health conditions like PTSD and Alzheimer's. At Oxford University a new study has phobia sufferers immersed in claustrophobic or stressful situations. Professor Daniel Freedman explains, "After just 30 minutes of VR...there were large reductions in paranoia". As a sensory stimulator, carers say Alzheimer sufferers enjoy reduced agitation when using the therapy. Trialed in 50 US hospitals, it has also become a key tool in treating soldiers with PTSD.
An opportunity to minimize reliance on pharmacological ways for mental health lies in Virtual Reality (VR). Exposure therapy (ET) is a really popular method among good practitioners to regulate therapy for patients suffering from mental issues. vr actually lead to mobile teletherapy can go in conjunction with in-clinic VR therapy. VR is even capable of isolating anxiety related stimulus with a much-controlled approach. Even through ET goes quite well with VR there are other psychiatric conditions and child disorders, where VR might have a major role to play.
Wearable tech like Oculus Rift can be used with individuals with autism to navigate virtual situations and help them develop life skills that can lead to independent living.
Diseases like Autism and Asperger’s syndrome are incurable uptill date. As of current situation, autism therapy includes in-person sessions with the doctor. But with an effective use of these sessions can be lessened to a good extent. Mobile VR actually helps investigate social interactions with autistic kids by including virtual characters.
They are trying to understand what happens to the brain when new information is passed on to it. They also use a conjunction of brain implants and VR tasks for an immersive real-world experience and did also capture brain signals and oscillations for a clear idea.
It is estimated that there 5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in America alone. Memory loss can affect several families around the world and it becomes difficult to find out what’s happening inside the brain when memories are formed or recalled. With this troubling situation, it becomes important for neuroscientists to get a deeper insight on the subject.
Medical VR has been proved efficient to stop the brain from processing pain and cure soreness in the hospitalized patients. This is actually beneficial as it shortens the patient’s stay time in the hospital and also lowers the cost of the entire treatment process. There are a number of software created to deflect the minds of the ailing patients and focus more on VR worlds that can help them relieve stress.
VR smoothly blurs the demarcation between the physical world and the computer simulation as surgeons can use latest versions of virtual reality glasses to interact in a three-dimensional space with the organ that requires surgical treatment, view it from any desired angle and able to switch between 3D view and the real CT images.
One of the most promising elements VR brings to the medical industry is that of the use of 3D models by surgeons to plan operations. By visualizing a complicated 3D organ on paper, really doesn’t give the full picture. And that is one main reason 360-degree graphics come to the forefront and also comes a better way for patients and doctors to communicate.
Prior to any operation, surgeons need to obtain the most precise images possible on the part of the body undergoing surgery. For instance, The University of Basel has developed a technology that employs computed tomography to generate three-dimensional images in real time to use in a virtual space altogether.
Technologies like Virtual Reality are finding an increasing number of homes in the medical industry. There are actually tonnes of projects, along with a varied commercial vendors offering solutions for medical practitioners, hospitals and the patients. These projects range from classical surgical planning to patient education as well.
You can also take a look our another article about virtual reality in healthcare sector. As a vr company nsocial creates gamification experiences by using virtual reality. you can check how vr used in health learning and training as a gamification tool from here. interested for projects? drop an email!