Healthcare VR for Education and Training
Not so long ago, we were approached by a client who was interested in boosting both the level of trust in his institution and patients’ satisfaction. Our team came up with a great demonstration material for him – a VR application that allows the patient to plunge into immersive VR stimulation: move around the MRI cell and interact with different objects.
After all, the visual demonstration makes the process of learning much interactive and understandable. This step not only helped to increase the level of trust but also, due to the visual element helped patients to understand how certain processes in the hospital go. Now let’s have a closer look at this application and its conceptual component.
In this particular example, we see that virtual reality technology can be widely used in the healthcare industry and has great potential for a different education, training, and adaptation scenarios. Let’s see in what other ways virtual reality applications can be helpful for the patients.
Pain and Phobia Treatment with VR
There are special VR simulators that help to get rid of phantom pains for people who have lost limbs. They affect the minds of patients and thus cure some psychological disorders and alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder veterans may have. Patients with extensive burns of the body suffer from severe pains that cannot be completely removed with medication. Exclusively for them, a virtual game SnowWorld was developed.
The action takes place in the ice world, snowmen and penguins are the enemies, and all weapons are made of ice and snow. According to research results, thanks to this game, burn patients’ thinking about the pain decreased in three times. It has been proven that VR reduces the time on pain concentration by up to 48%, while opioids only by 10%.
VR is also used to treat psychological disorders. For example, there have been numerous cases of weakening of phobias when using exposure therapy in combination with VR glasses. For example, a person with arachnophobia is being demonstrated virtual spiders. First, at a distance, then you can approach and even interact with them. And those suffering from acrophobia are sent to walk on the roofs of virtual buildings with a gradual increase in the number of floors. There are also applications for the prevention of fear of flying, driving a car and a number of other phobias.
Immersive Interactive Solutions for Healthcare
Experts from Microsoft have developed a system that allows blind and partially sighted people to interact with objects of virtual reality using a special cane — in this case, we are talking about the virtual reality cane. As planned by specialists, it should help blind and visually impaired people to form an accurate mental map of the virtual space in order to better navigate themselves in space.
The hospital scares small children, cut off from their relatives and familiar surroundings. With the help of VR glasses and a 360-degree camera, you can provide them with the ability to be at home or at school in real-time. In the same way, young patients will be able to maintain contact with loved ones, immerse themselves in a comfortable home environment, while physically remaining in the hospital ward.
VR is used not only for patients’ needs but as well for doctors and interns learning and adaptation to the real-life conditions: communication with patients, anesthesia, first aid, etc. According to the forecast of the research and consulting company IndustryARC, by 2020 the global market for virtual and augmented reality technologies in healthcare will reach $ 2.54 billion. These technologies will mainly be used to train doctors and rehabilitate patients.
Virtual Reality Training Simulators
Most of the examples of virtual reality use are in surgery, where visualization and feedback on doctor actions play an extremely important role. Due to virtual reality, a doctor gains experience in performing operations on organs that he has never done before and mastering his skills as the accuracy of actions shortens the period of postoperative recovery.
Even more, VR applications for helping doctors to learn the basics of communicating with patients, anesthesiology, sedation, lung ventilation, first aid in the military field, and so on are developed. By the way, VR also allows training doctors who use robotic surgery units: telesurgeons and microsurgeons. According to a number of studies, VR simulators significantly increase the efficiency of doctors specializing in robotic surgery.
Virtual reality facilitates the process of diagnosing diseases: using ultrasound, tomography and X-ray data are collected, which are then converted into a three-dimensional model of the damaged organ. Then, doctors can examine the 3D model of the problem organ from all angles, without losing sight of anything important.
A simulator, which is a full-size mannequin with imitation of the cardiovascular system, has been created. It allows us to visually control parameters such as blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and even the “level of consciousness” of the dummy. On the simulator, you can set the anomalies of blood circulation and monitor the consequences of the doctor’s actions: drugs administering, manipulations with the heart and blood vessels.
In general, the potential of virtual reality is gradually revealing itself and it is not difficult to imagine that the medicine of the future will become virtual for the most part. The availability and variety of devices and software are growing, and very soon new technologies will be used everywhere, in the training of doctors and the adaptation of patients.
And already now you can find a solution that will fit the best for your business. Learning is important and it’s not that expensive as it may seem to implement these solutions for your company, especially when you’ll get feedback in the form of retained and loyal clients.