Future of medicine | Virtual reality in health care | Digital health technology

virtual reality in health care

Virtual reality might seem like a leaf straight out of sci-fi fantasy series for common masses, but health care and medicine have already leaped several steps ahead to grasp its ever increasing possibilities. Revolutionizing the way how doctors and scientists implement basic health care and training in future, following are some recent breakthroughs in the field of virtual reality in health care which will forever change your life.

  • PTSD and Phobias: Virtual reality can assist magnificently to cure phobias and panic disorders using continuous exposure, claim psychiatrists at University of Louisville who has performed experiments on patients who have claustrophobia. Similar experiments have been conducted by University of Southern California Institute for creative technologies on veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with the help of virtual simulations of battle scenarios which help deal with flashbacks and control triggers.
  • Surgical training and a better connection between physicians and elderly: VR has made it possible to participate in painful surgeries and learn a new technique through eyes of the experienced surgeon. For the first time in history, a surgeon at Royal London Hospital conducted an operation using VR camera in 2016. Another breakthrough creation “We are Alfred” by Embodied Labs had paved the way for better understanding between doctors and elderly patients through simulation of reality from eyes of an old.
  • Pain management and cognitive training for autism: Experiments conducted using VR video game Snowworld made scientists at the University of Washington realize the importance of VR to manage pain by training brain pathways and create new circuits. Furthermore, VR has also proved its mettle by helping kids improve social aptitude in a public setting using VR for autistic young adults.
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Factors governing innovative environment

Isn’t it amazing? Following is the list of companies which have made this possible:

  1. Osso VR: A Boston-based firm, it has enabled surgeons graduate from training sessions with the help of simulations that teach surgeries. You can visit Osso VR at http://ossovr.com/.
  2. Medical Realities: Another company which works to simulate surgeries for proper execution of an operation. For more details, contact www.medicalrealities.com/.
  3. Firsthand Technology: An organization which uses VR to promote better cognitive therapy, pain management, positive mental health, proper hygiene, etc. Visit First-Hand technology at firsthand.com/
  4. Oculus Rift: A VR company with an app to help people learn meditation. Contact https://www.oculus.com/rift/ for more details.
  5. Immersive Touch: This firm is working on virtual simulations for surgical training. You can find them at immersivetouch.com.
  6. Virtually Better: This primarily aims to help patients suffering from phobias and PTSD by using Exposure therapy. Contact http://www.virtuallybetter.com/ for further details.
  7. Medical Virtual Reality: As evident from the name itself, this group intends to use VR from various medical conditions. Contact medvr.ict.usc.edu/ for further details.
  8. Brainlab AG: A German company, which aims to revolutionize neurosurgeries and radio surgeries with the help of VR.

There are several more and judging by the market trends; it is projected to cross the US $3.8 Billion by 2020, with an insatiable demand for simulation training, rehabilitation, pain management, cognitive therapy, alleviating phobias and PTSD in veterans, etc. all over the world. Private and public backings are influential factors which decide future of Virtual Reality in the health care. A complete 3D simulation is expected to assist severe pain, generalized anxiety, and depression in burn patients, amputees, and autistic children. As robotic technologies, endoscopy, computer aided tools have increasingly stormed its way in daily life surgeries, VR has also paved a new path for the health sector to follow with none/minimally invasive methods and coping methods. For more details, refer http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/technology-driving-innovation-folder/virtual-and-augmented-reality/report.pdf or http://www.strategyr.com/MCP-7662.asp.

Dawn is descending on a new era of medicine and technology brought upon by rays of VR. Coming years are expected to spectacle a remarkable bloom in the health sector. So, what are you waiting for?

Image credit: www.istockphoto.com


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