Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive technology that has taken several industries by storm. At first, you may associate the technology with gaming, but, in fact, it is now being adopted by different sectors. One such sector where VR is showcasing its magical benefits is healthcare.
Doctors and scientists have been exploring the merits and use of VR in medicine for decades, but due to the advancement in technology, the hardware is now so much more accessible and reliable, making it a big part of mainstream healthcare. It has moved on from being a dream many practitioners dreamt of to now being used practically in several interventions as well as for research.
In recent years, VR has truly changed the game for medicine with so much more on the rise. Let’s talk about the different reasons why virtual reality is the future of medicine.
It is effective for pain management
Virtual reality therapy used for alleviating pain has been one of the first VR treatments studied by doctors and researchers. Today this has turned into a reality for patients suffering from pain.
For those who suffer from chronic pain, VR is used as distraction therapy to help patients think about calming experiences and moments. It is also used for patients who have gone under surgery and are recovering from a painful procedure. VR headsets with calming landscapes and views enable the patient to move past the recent trauma and recover faster.
It is being used as a tool for teaching
When it comes to education, technology is making immense progress in finding more interactive and immersive ways to teach. While the theory is the first step during medical training, real learning happens on the practical front, which would typically come at a later stage.
VR allows doctors in training to fully experience what is being taught right from the start. They don’t need to imagine what a beating heart must look like when they can actually go inside it and experience the rhythms and flows for a clear understanding. Students can also be given practical demonstrations of surgical procedures that they would typically observe behind their superiors.
It helps plan complex procedures better
While day-to-day procedures may be second nature for surgeons, they often face new and complicated scenarios that they may not have tackled earlier. For example, a complex heart procedure or a case where they have to separate conjoined twins is uncharted territory that can create room for error and mishaps. To avoid mistakes and plan the procedure in advance, doctors can take detailed images and create 3D models of the case beforehand. Then using VR, they can go inside the subject matter and perform the steps. This way, the entire journey of the surgery can be mapped, giving surgeons the opportunity to decide on the best approach.
They can even go for unconventional methods that prove successful in the planning stage using VR. This way, patients also spend less time under anesthesia as surgeons have already prepared the next steps.
It is effective for supporting mental health
Virtual reality is making waves in the treatment of patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. It has proven to be quite effective in helping such patients feel relaxed and calm during moments of distress.
Putting on a VR headset enables the patient to enter a simulated environment that is built to distract a person from negative thoughts and triggers. It is almost like meditation, where a patient enters a state of zen. Having a simulation in place helps those who have not experienced meditation before.
For those who are experiencing extreme episodes and suicidal thoughts, VR is helpful in placing the person in a simulation where a therapist can provide support and assistance. This is quicker and more personalized than other emergency interventions. Similarly, VR is also helping patients combat phobias and substance abuse addiction.
The technology behind VR is making leaps and bounds in several spheres, and healthcare is no different. Through its many benefits and uses, this immersive technology is changing how medical professionals view the world of science, biology, and anatomy and is enabling them to think out of the box for bigger and better solutions. It is already being used extensively to improve different aspects of patient care with promising prospects ahead.