In this era of digitised world, day by day technology spreads their wings in each & every field. In the healthcare IT, virtual reality technology creates a simulated environment & allows the user to interact with the 3d world. As we know reality comes by way of our senses, simply this technology is considered as a combination of sensory information & our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. Nowadays medical professionals & scientists have been implementing & developing virtual reality in many ways that can help them diagnose, train & treat in critical situations.
This technology really helps in changing the way of delivering care to patients. In our previous articles, we explain Augmented reality in healthcare, EMR Vs EHR, EHR benefits, Nanorobots, Artificial intelligence in healthcare, Hospital information system, cloud computing, IoT in healthcare, Medical robots, Laboratory information system etc in detail. In this article, we are going to explain Virtual Reality Uses & Applications in healthcare in detail. Have a look.
Uses & Applications of Virtual Reality technology in healthcare:
Well as we know not only in the gaming field, virtual reality play a crucial role in helping physicians & patients to learn more & come out of their traumas or phobias. Here we are going to discuss some of its uses in the medical field. It can be used for:
- Developing an imaginary environment for an interactive story or a game.
- Simulating real world environment for training & education.
Virtual Reality Uses:
Virtual reality leads to a new, creative, exciting discoveries in the field of healthcare industry & really impacts our day to day lives. Let’s go through its uses in this field.
(i) Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
This type of trauma mostly occurs in soldiers or military veterans who returns from war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq etc. Sometimes, some soldiers undergo such critical situations which left adverse effects on their mind and stops them from coming out of that situation. To overcome this trauma, doctor or physicians use VR technology & place the patient in realistic & immersive scenes. The patient then is guided through the scene & help them to cope the situation within which they are placed. University of Southern California Institute for creative technologies has represented a paper which shows the virtual reality’s use in PTSD treatment.
(ii) Google Cardboard Baby Saver:
Google is a great player of every technology either in gaming or in the healthcare field. One of the virtual reality platforms of google is google cardboard viewer, use with a head mount for a smartphone. By placing the phone in the back of the viewer user can easily run the VR cardboard compatible applications on their phone & view content through the lenses.
To save the life of a baby Teegan lexcen who born with one lung & half heart, doctors use this google vr cardboard. With the help of this doctors can map teegan heart in virtual reality & effectively plan a surgery technique. Within virtual reality, physicians not only able to look at the heart but effectively move around & view the heart from every angle to diagnose the problem efficiently. This will improve doctor experience & reduces the risk exponentially.
(iii) Limb Pain Treatment:
Whenever we lost one of our limbs, at instance we are not able to tolerate or handle that pain or go through trauma. Phantom limb pain makes it harder for them to use prosthetic limbs & worsens the mental state of a patient. Past treatment included the mirror therapy in which physicians will create illusions of the unaffected limb in the mirror & shows that the amputated limb is moving. But this therapy does not relieve pain in all cases & cannot be used if both limbs have been lost.
As we know, neurons in the brain relating to lost limb remain active, can trigger the sensations of the pain because the brain does not adapt the limb loss. Small studies conclude that virtual reality games have been designed for amputees to experience the movement of the missing limbs. While playing virtual games patient use a virtual limb & complete all tasks. It may also help in boosting patient confidence & help them in gaining some control & learn, for eg, how to relax or get rid of the pain.
Virtual Reality Applications:
From developing new life-saving techniques to training the doctors, virtual reality technology does a tremendous job in the field of medicine. Let’s have a look over some of VR applications in the medical field.
- Education ( Training, teaching)
- Computer Assisted Surgery
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