How Virtual Reality Will Affect the Health Industry
From VR games to VR porn videos, virtual reality is affecting our lives in ways we never would have imagined. With new technology, however, virtual reality has become more than just a form of entertainment. It can change the way professionals work, particularly those who require added training in special healthcare fields.
Are we really ready to embrace VR as the new form of therapy? You might be surprised that there are several platforms that use VR to improve the way healthcare is administered.
Training Medical Students
Medical students need to be present during as many procedures as possible. However, these students may not always be present when certain operations occur. However, attendance to a wider range of operations is now possible through the use of VR.
Students can select from a library of prerecorded VR operations to help them learn more about these procedures. Some surgeons may even stream these operations live so that students from different states or countries can watch them. Through the use of VR, these students can clearly observe what the surgeon is doing. This includes zooming in or slowing down the video to help them see exactly what’s going on.
Using VR to Help Patients Feel at Ease
Many hospitalized patients get anxious about their hospital stay. These patients feel like they’re missing out on their life when they spend several days at the hospital. This is especially true for young children who feel left out because they can’t attend birthday parties or special occasions. Add to that the pain that many patients suffer while they’re in recovery.
Through an app called VisitU, patients can get in touch with their loved ones even while they’re in the hospital. VisitU provides the patient with a virtual reality stream that they can watch whenever they’re missing home. Seeing and talking to their relatives in real time helps patients feel more at ease during their hospital stay.
The Farmoo project, on the other hand, helps patients deal with chronic pain both in and out of the hospital. The project created this app to help distract the mind of patients by immersing them in a more pleasant VR world. This helps to reduce the patients’ stress and anxiety, leading to faster recovery.
Virtual Reality for Mental Health
The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust continuously works on creating new VR technology to help patients with mental issues. As one of the pioneers for using VR to promote mental health, the trust creates programs that deal with a host of different diagnoses.
One program deals specifically with anxiety disorders such as phobias. People with phobias can get over their fear when they are gradually exposed to what they’re scared of. Heights is one of the phobias that can be handled through exposure therapy. Naturally, healthcare professionals can’t just take their patient to a tall building to help them handle their fear. The best thing they can do is expose the patient to heights using VR.
Other VR mental health applications also address issues such as autism, paranoia, and even delusions. These applications are used in conjunction with a professional psychologist who facilitates the therapy.
Virtual reality is more than just entertainment. It helps healthcare workers treat their patients more effectively. It’s only a matter of time before VR therapy becomes one of the many ways healthcare professionals help patients handle their symptoms.