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Virtual Reality – How it Impacts Patient Health Care

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 20:37
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Virtual Reality is mostly thought of as increasing video gaming enjoyment and often not recognized for the revolutionary advantages it holds for each and every industry. While mostly acknowledged for its entertainment qualities, virtual reality is widely used in many different areas of healthcare including surgery, rehabilitation, diagnosis, treatment, and counseling. While this is only the beginning of what virtual reality can do for patients, it is sure to continue in its expansion to other areas relating to the health care field and will only improve the lives of those who are sick.

Virtual Reality Used By Universities

Virtual reality is used in many universities to train healthcare professionals and enables the students to acquire the understanding and knowledge much faster regarding the human body. Hands-on training are possible in a controlled and safe environment where students have less stress since mistakes can be corrected and there is no risk for the patients, while virtual interaction with patients also enables health care students to practice and perfect their bedside manners and the relationship experienced between the patient and doctor.

Since the Sensorama Simulator that was used in 1962 virtual simulation has come a long way, it now allows surgeons the experience both any procedure they are carrying out physically and visually. Several medical focused companies discover new ways to develop medical realities and immersive touch daily with virtual reality technology. In medical virtual reality is not only safe but also cost-effective for training nurses, surgeons, dentists, paramedics, and counselors. 

Virtual Reality: Burn Victim Treatment, Dentistry and Chronic Pain Treatment

In situations such as extreme pain, phobias, post-traumatic stress, and other fears. Virtual reality simulations, for over 20 years, have helped patients with PTSD and also has been used as a tool to distract burn victims from the pain associated with treatments. SnowWorld was developed over 15 years ago at Firsthand and HITLab by Hunter Hoffman.

While virtual reality makes a huge difference in medical training, treatment is not confined to medical schools only. The HapTEL system is used for training in dentistry and offers new dentists the opportunity to perform dental surgery, fillings, root canal treatments and other procedures while perfecting their techniques.

Many or maybe all patients’ find hospital environments stressful, it is, for some, a place where time stops, and everyone counts the minutes until they go home to their families. For this reason, the Cedars-Sinai hospital introduced VR worlds to all patients in Los Angeles hospitals. With the use of VR headsets, patients can escape from their hospital beds and enjoy a virtual reality visit to the Iceland landscapers or swim with dolphins in the ocean. The developer, Brennan Spiegel, reported that the VR experience not only reduces the cost of care but also is effective in the reduction of pain, stress and the length of time spent in hospital for patients.

Virtual Reality Make Young Patients Feel At Home

Small children find hospital treatments mentally burdening and more stressful than adults and while they miss toys, animal friends and their home environment a Dutch company found the answer. With VR headsets and smartphones the VisitU site offers a 360-degree camera that can be set up at the home of the patient to make them feel more relaxed and part of activities at home. For family members at home, this also cuts out long drives to hospitals to some degree allowing the family to spend more time with the patient more regularly.

Endless Medical Virtual Reality Possibilities

When it comes to virtual reality in the medical field the possibilities is endless and new programs are already in use to assist physicians to understand an elderly person life via a program called “We are Alfred” created by Embodied Labs offering the experience via virtual reality. With better understanding comes more empathy and also better treatment, the program allows everyone to become Alfred for a period of 7 minutes and allow a much greater perception of how it is to be 74 years of age with impairments such as visual and audio. Swiss Mindmaze created a program called MindMotionPro developed to speed up the recovery period for patients who had a stroke. By providing players with visual feedback and motivation via visual such as virtual reality, it increases mental strength, which helps to speed up the recovery of traumatized nervous systems.

The medical futurist has released a new infographic guide that offers information to 3D printing as well as lives streaming from patients intestines to clinicians. There is no doubt that VR has already commenced its fascination take-over in the medical field and for patients & medical practitioners alike this is the start of great transformations.




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