If we didn’t try virtual reality or our only contact was limited to games and advertising, the idea of using it in medicine seems quite abstract. Well, what would it look like?
However, it turns out that it is far from abstraction or nonsense. VR in medicine is one of the fastest growing virtual reality branches. As Puls Biznesu writes:
“According to the latest estimates of the american research company Reports and Data, last year the market of virtual reality solutions in the medical area was worth USD 1.78 billion, and by 2026 is expected to grow to almost USD 7 billion on a global scale.”
Training of doctors and health-care professionals
The question is, what are the solutions? Virtual doctor? Oh no. We leave aside the futuristic visions about robots replacing people. VR and AR in medicine are here to help them.
First of all, they train all medical staff. In the medical education, and especially surgery, the most difficult thing is to get a practice. It often starts on the living organism of the patient. Nothing replaces working with a human being, but many things can be recreated in virtual reality. Whether using goggles, smart glasses or increasingly complex medical simulators.
The tools available on the market allow to conduct experimental operations, medical procedures and procedures with the possibility of making an unlimited number of errors.
See what knee surgery training looks like:
Diagnostics and visualizations
Learning in VR is not only specific training but also easier learning of complex human anatomy and the ability to observe different layers of our body from any angle. This allows, in addition to a better understanding of the complex human body, for easier surgery planning and diagnostics. How much simpler it will be to describe e.g. tomography if it can be applied to a virtual phantom.
It is known for a long time that distraction is an effective method of reducing short-term pain. However, VR is tested to see if it works better than other methods. It already achieves results in reducing stress and pain of children within the upper limits of results obtained using other methods. With the development of applications and methods, we can count on more.
VR, engages many senses at the same time, takes us to another world in which we can focus on the action that we are in the center of.
How cool can be injections with VR you can see in this video. Damn it, I want it too!
Psychiatry is another rapidly growing field of medicine in the use of VR. Depression, schizophrenia, psychosis, a problem with social relations, and above all anxiety and phobias are targeted by psychiatrists and psychologists. Thanks to virtual reality, patients can, under controlled conditions, get used to situations that cause fear and panic and manage their reactions. The University Hospital in Haukeland is conducting an 18-month study of whether psychosis therapy using VR gives better results than other methods known so far.
How many times you failed doing exercise or any other physical activity due to laziness? Although you know that sport is health and you are fully functional? So imagine that you are a person after a stroke, accident, you suffer from Parkinson’s or other mobility-limiting disease and you have to do a series of repetitive exercises, preferably every day? The prospect of recovering or slowing down the progression of the disease will not be a motivation for everyone. Some give up, lose faith, are not persistent, suffer. Transferring often tedious exercises to the virtual world can give better results. As e.g. during neuro-rehabilitation, in which we cheat the brain of paralyzed people. Seeing the world in which they move easily they support physiotherapy thanks to the visualization of the effect.
We can multiply examples, come up with new solutions. I am becoming increasingly convinced that only the imagination limits us in VR technology. And you? How would you use VR for medicine?