An expert view on how Virtual Reality is making its place in the healthcare industry, and how it’s shaping a future vision for medical technology.

1. Pain Reduction with Virtual Reality

Various researches were showing that it is possible to efficiently reduce acute and chronic pain by using virtual reality headsets with special programs as a distraction. Those who have participated in such studies have been able to lower their addiction to opioids. The theory is based on the gate control theory of pain, which postulates that pain perception can be reduced by refocusing the brain’s attention away from the pain.

2. Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation with Virtual Reality

Using immersive, interactive virtual reality environments that trick patients into doing physical therapy exercises without even knowing it. Virtual and augmented reality technologies offer ways to help patients overcome some conditions for which clinicians never had very efficient solutions to deal with. There are some areas where VR technologies are making an impact: medication adherence, addiction, weight management, stress management, grief counselling, cognitive function training and isolation concerns are just some of them.

3. Pre-Operative Planning and Surgical Training using VR

VR is proving to be the most affordable, close to reality ways to teach surgical skills. The technology is also useful for pre-operative planning by giving the surgeon an opportunity to plan a particularly complicated procedure by loading information to a VR environment from imaging machines. Practising surgeries in VR allow surgeons to get in more reps, particularly on complicated procedures.

4. Patient Education

The education initiative is much bigger than VR. But the VR aspect is interesting. Using VR for patient education, designing virtual tours of the human body was an initiative taken by a company. “Visual storytelling technologies – particularly VR blended with 360-degree video – have tremendous potential in healthcare and patient engagement and make a transformative impact on patient engagement, health literacy, medical education and therapy adherence.”

5. VR for Reduction of Pre-Operative Anxiety

As you know that, preoperative anxiety may lead to medical and surgical complications, behavioral problems and emotional distress. Virtual reality gives a unique possibility to distract patients from this state allowing them to immerse in a relaxing, peaceful environment. VR technology guided patients and their families to make them familiar with the procedure. There is a unique VR program with a child tour guide ensuring pediatric patients overcome their fear and stress before surgery.

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