Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare - Applications & Benefits

Posted by Pankaj Srivastavaa · 20 Sep, 2022 · 6 Min read
Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare - Applications & Benefits

Undoubtedly, technology is advancing with each passing day and easing the lifestyle of humankind. Nowadays, we live in a digital era where the accomplishment of every task is a single click away.

With millions of technologies flourishing globally by assisting in every task, virtual reality (VR) is yet another computer-based technology that benefits several fields.

From interior designing, retail, architecture, communication, and tourism to gaming, supporting sales, education, and healthcare, the applications of virtual reality extend to uncountable areas.

After the outbreak of Covid -19, Virtual Reality has become a game-changer for the healthcare industry along with other significant healthcare technology trends.

In this article, we will discuss all details of virtual reality (VR) in healthcare, including how VR works for healthcare and all the benefits and applications of VR in healthcare.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that provides a three-dimensional image on the screen to the user. This enables the users to interact with a virtual environment.

Virtual reality makes the surroundings seem physical or real by featuring electronic equipment to visualise the 3D screen, like a helmet attached with a screen, 3D goggles, or gloves having sensors. The main advantage of VR is that it saves costs.

An example of virtual reality is digital car racing games. It allows players to experience speed, sound and driving sensations virtually.

What is Virtual Reality in Healthcare?

Virtual reality in healthcare uses computer-generated technology for several healthcare applications, like providing virtual medical training to students and doctors or carrying out diagnoses, and many others.

Also, Read: AI in Healthcare

Common Examples of VR In Healthcare

Virtual reality works for healthcare in various ways. For example, it provides medical training by showing scenarios and common situations that can arise in physical setups. Most of the Top Hospitals and Medical universities across the World implemented VR applications to train professionals, perform surgery, or provide medical education remotely.

It involves problem-oriented learning, internal body organ explanation by virtual visualisation, and teaches the necessary communication skills to students.

By distracting patients' attention away, virtual reality is known to relieve chronic pain in people who are recovering from any disease or when the use of pain medicine or anaesthesia is contraindicated.

Another example of VR in the medical field is assistance in physical therapy and rehabilitation for patients who find it difficult to exercise because of pain. VR helps and motivates them to complete their physical activity by distracting their attention away from pain with the help of specific visual aids, sensations, and sounds.

Also, read: 10 Healthcare Business Ideas For Startups ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

Benefits of VR in Healthcare Industry

The benefits of virtual reality in healthcare are:

  • Provides A Safe Environment: It gives realistic medical training to doctors and students by providing a safe environment, thus eliminating health risks.
  • Promotes Fast Healing: Wearing VR goggles eliminates the boredom and stress of the hospital environment for patients admitted to the hospitals for the long term and allows them to explore a virtual world in their hospital beds. This promotes fast healing.
  • Beats Phobias: VR provides an environment that visualises and feels real, which helps patients and medical professionals defeat their phobias and fears.
  • Distracts Attention: VR effectively distracts patients' attention from anything they continuously face, like chronic pain, making it easier for them to tolerate the ailment. Additionally, it can also distract children from the pain they may experience from blood tests, injections, and other medical procedures.
  • Cost-Effective And Saves Time: VR is cost-effective compared to visiting regular physical setups and saves time.

Market Summary Of Virtual Reality In Healthcare

In 2018, the global virtual reality healthcare market size was estimated at $240.91 million and was expected to reach up to $2,383.68 million by 2026.

The global research study on VR in healthcare revealed that the market size will reach $2793.69 Million at 36.50% CAGR by 2028. In 2021, the market size was $431.90 million.

VR Applications in Healthcare

There are numerous applications of VR, and we have also discussed some of them above. From easing chronic pain and fears by distracting attention to providing full medical training to professionals, the applications of VR in healthcare are unlimited and are continuing to rise.

There are three types of virtual reality:

  • Non-immersive VR
  • Semi-immersive VR
  • Fully-immersive simulation VR

Virtual reality applications in different sectors of the healthcare industry include:

1. Surgery

VR lets users practise different surgeries in the virtual space with the help of haptic controllers. The VR software guides the surgeons with the help of necessary steps. VR is also used to explain the surgery process to patients.

2. Pain Management

As we discussed above, by diverting the patient's attention, VR manages the level of chronic pain. This effectively reduces healthcare costs and minimises the use of painkillers.

3. Physical Therapy

VR assists in physical therapy and offers a wide range of exercises that is supervised by an AI virtual instructor who monitors the patient's condition and ensures that the exercises are performed appropriately.

4. Medical Education And Training

With the help of tutors and training scenarios, virtual learning sessions are arranged for medical students.

5. Rehabilitation

VR also provides rehabilitation to patients with the help of virtual therapists or built-in VR software programs.

Also, Read: IoT in Healthcare

What the Future Beholds for VR?

Virtual reality is one of those technologies with the largest potential for growth in the future. Today, VR applications extend to taking total control over the person's senses and emotions, for example, sight, feelings, and hearing, which makes the environment feel very much realistic.

In the future, VR applications are expected to involve other features, for example, touch and smell, to deepen the sense of a realistic environment. Moreover, the devices or electronic equipment of VR will also become cheaper and lighter in the future to eliminate the hurdle of using VR.

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