Virtual reality in healthcare has many compelling use cases, ranging from serving as a training tool for providers to being used directly on patients to improve health outcomes. We’d like to showcase the virtual reality healthcare use cases that excite us the most:
Enable surgeons to practice before the operation
By using 3D models of CAT scans, MRIs, and other visualizations of patient data, surgeons can test out operations before actually conducting them. Surgeons in training benefit as well–by using 3D models in a virtual environment, future surgeons can go through the required motions before operating on a real body, upping their reps in the surgical experience without putting patients at risk.
Relieve stress and reduce pain
Patients in hospital settings typically spend time anxiously waiting for various procedures and doctor and nurse check ins, an activity that does not contribute to, and can harm, recovery. By offering VR experiences to admitted patients like visiting different places, patients can reduce stress and relieve any associated pain. At a larger level beyond a patient’s in-care experience, the overall cost of care can go down if health outcomes are improved through the alleviative properties of VR and patients can go home earlier.
Serve as a therapy tool
VR as therapy has started to show tangible results in the medical community. For example, as physical therapy, VR can help train brains to link simulated movement in VR to real limb movement in the real world. As a treatment for PTSD, VR can recreate traumatic environments or incidents and deploy ‘extinction learning’ to then relieve anxiety around the triggered trauma.