How VR technology is revolutionizing the heatlhcare sector.
When you hear the term “VR,” you might think of entertainment, social media, or the exploration of virtual worlds; perhaps the last thing you’d ever think of is the healthcare industry. Does this sector of the world actually use VR and does it really bring with it any unique benefits? Well, in short, yes.
Perhaps surprisingly, the healthcare system is currently using VR in a number of creative ways. Today we’re going to explore just a few shining examples, detailing everything you need to know about these important technological developments.
Eye-Sync // Credit: SyncThink
1. Detecting Vision Problems
Perhaps one of the more obvious use-cases, VR serves as an excellent tool for identifying potential vision problems. This can range from basic vision tests to identifying signs of a concussion.
One solution known as Eye-Sync has already won an award from the FDA, meaning these are solutions that mean business!
2. Help Mental Injury Recovery
Using VR headsets, solutions like MindMaze can assist people suffering from neural problems, such as those who have suffered from stroke injuries, to train, recover, and retrain their minds. The same solution has also proven effective in helping amputee people relieve discomforts brought on by “phantom pain.”
MindMaze closed a $100 million funding round back in 2018 to get the platform up-and-running. Of course, there are plenty more markets these services can branch into, including helping those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
XRHealth // Credit: XRHealth
3. Helping People through Rehab
One of my favorite ways that VR is being used to help people is through physical rehabilitation. VR can help those in recovery practice certain physical movements and stretches which can be difficult to perform accurately without human assistance.
“If you’ve ever been to physio and you’ve been set some physical movements or stretches to do at home to help you deal and repair an injury, then the chances are you know what I’m talking about. It’s so hard to know whether you’re making the move properly, and there’s always the fear that you may be doing more harm than good,” shares Nikki Marie, a tech blogger at OX Essays and Boom essays.
In response to these fears, companies such as XRHealth have begun creating VR games to help. For example, one experience known as Rotate has players following an animated dragon as it flies throughout the sky, which naturally moves the player’s neck and stretches their muscles using a range of predetermined motions.
Augmedix for Google Glass // Credit: Augmedix
4. Augmented Medical Records
Using augmented services like Augmedix, healthcare professionals can browse through and access patient medical records via an electronic service, which makes them incredibly easy to pull up and view at any time and helps to keep the data private and secure. These digital records have even been used in doctor-patient conversations to help minimize the barriers between the doctor and patient while conversing.
“Mostly, this has been achieved so far using the Google Glass service and similar AR services, but this will quickly be heading into the VR world, especially when paired with other virtual services, like the ones we’ve already explored on this list,” shares Derek Harrington, a business writer at Paper fellows and State of writing.
5. Prepping for Surgery
It’s no secret that complicated surgeries take time and require a lot of preparation and organization beforehand. Using a variety of VR solutions, doctors and healthcare professionals can access real CT scans, MRI scans, and other crucial medical data from within a 3D space, offering them a whole new level of insight.
As you can see, there are plenty of fantastic uses for VR within the healthcare industry that already exist, but you can be sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is possible.