Top 5 VR Healthcare Solutions: How Is Virtual Reality Helping People?
Virtual reality is changing many industries around the world, and healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of VR encompassing surgery planning, phobia treatment, pain relief, robotic surgery, skills training, etc.
VR allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as refreshing existing ones in a safe environment. What ’s more, it allows a treatment planning without causing any danger to the patients. Virtual Reality is proven to be greatly helpful for the development of new life-saving techniques and the surgery training of doctors.
1. Surgery Planning–Google Cardboard saves a baby
Virtual reality can be used to explore three-dimensional scans of patients’ organs in a way that could not be possible with traditional methods. For example, baby Teegan Lexcen was born with only one lung and half her heart. Dr. Redmond Burke, the chief of cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, used a low-cost Google Cardboard headset to plan a surgery on the baby. The headset helped him see the 3D images of the baby’s heart to figure out how to save her life. Just four weeks after surgery, Teegan was taken off the ventilator. She is expected to make a full recovery.
2.The world’s first surgery streamed in virtual reality
In general, medical students watch actual surgeries in order to learn how to do the procedures, and the experienced doctors benefit from learning new techniques and getting a refresher on old ones. While the viewers can actually feel as though they are right there in the operating room if the surgeries are filmed using virtual reality or 360-degree cameras.
“I believe that virtual reality and augmented reality can revolutionize surgical education and training, particularly for developing countries that don’t have the resources and facilities of NHS hospitals” Dr. Shafi Ahmed said, who did the world’s first surgery streamed in virtual reality, in which he removed cancerous tissue from the bowel of the patient, which took just over three hours.
3.Virtual reality helps treatment of phobias
For some time now doctors and therapists the world over have advocated exposure therapy – forcing patients to physically confront that which they fear the most – in order to ease or completely cure phobias. They are using virtual reality in combination with cognitive-behavioral therapy as a tool to help people overcome phobias, with virtual reality–3-D computer graphics that simulate environments in the real world–to help clients confront their fears in a controlled and safe environment. Dozens of studies over the past decade have shown that virtual reality can help people overcome fear of spiders, heights, storms, flying and even public speaking. And recently, researchers have been investigating ways to make virtual reality even more “real” and the therapy even more effective.
4. VR practices in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD treatment
Dr. Albert Rizzo of the University of Southern California has been working within clinical virtual reality for the past 20 years, and has even won awards for his work in developing treatments for PTSD. Similar to exposure therapy for curing phobias, VR is being used to ease Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, primarily suffered by military veterans upon returning from war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq.
5. VR for Pain Relief
Numerous studies have shown that virtual reality experiences don’t just distract patients from their pain, they can actually reduce the pain signals that reach the brain. Now, with the availability of low-cost, mobile-based virtual reality headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR and Google Cardboard, the technology is leaving the research labs and getting real-world applications. The Cedars-Sinai Medical Center rolled out the Pain RelieVR products by AppliedVR, which are virtual reality applications that help reduce the pain and stress of medical procedures. The hospital plans to use the apps in its Spine Center, its Department of Surgery and its Orthopaedic Center.