VR in Healthcare: Virtual Medical Treatments

VR in Healthcare: Virtual Medical Treatments

In recent years, virtual reality (VR) technology has found its place not only in the entertainment industry but also in such an essential and responsible area as medicine. Its potential has been revealed so much that VR no longer seems exotic or innovative for hospitals or medical research centers today.

VR in Healthcare: Virtual Medical Treatments 1

Modern medical institutions are actively integrating VR for training specialists. Traditional teaching methods, such as practicing on dummies or watching videos, are gradually supplemented or even replaced by virtual simulators. This allows young doctors to “immerse themselves” in the realities of the operating room or emergencies without risk to an actual patient.

Rehabilitation after injuries and strokes using VR

Recovery after an injury or stroke is a complex and lengthy process that requires an individual approach. Virtual reality technology offers new and innovative rehabilitation methods that can complement or even replace traditional techniques. VR allows you to create an environment as close to reality as possible. This can simulate walking in the park, climbing stairs, or any other daily activity the patient wants to master again.

VR applications can represent various puzzles, logic, and memory tasks, which helps to train cognitive functions in an interactive form. Stroke survivors sometimes experience difficulties in social adaptation. VR can simulate social scenarios, such as chatting in a cafe or going to the store, to help patients regain social skills. While performing tasks in VR, patients can receive instant feedback about their successes or mistakes, which allows them to adjust their actions and improve results quickly.

Treatment of chronic pain using VR

Using VR, patients can be “transported” into a world that occupies their attention so much that pain becomes less pronounced. It can be a tropical beach, a mountain landscape, or a magical land. Interactive VR games or tasks can occupy the patient’s mind so much that pain signals begin to be perceived as less persistent or intense. Patients with chronic pain often feel helpless in front of their condition. VR allows them to control their virtual environment, enhancing their sense of control over their body and painful sensations.

Virtual meditation sessions may include voice guidance that helps patients focus on breathing, muscle relaxation, and pain reduction. Bright, colorful landscapes, the sea sound, or birds singing in VR can contribute to deep relaxation and diversion from pain. Many meditation techniques are aimed at developing mindfulness. VR can help patients focus on the present moment, distracting from pain sensations and learning to manage pain perception.

Training and education of medical staff using VR

Modern medical practice requires a high degree of skill and constant updating of knowledge. Now, many people in their studies and work use such advanced technologies as new online project management tools, and of course, in the future, they will introduce VR. VR technologies provide unique training opportunities for medical professionals, providing them with realistic simulations in which they can hone their skills.

VR in Healthcare: Virtual Medical Treatments 2

VR allows future surgeons to “perform” surgery in a fully controlled but realistically simulated operating room. This helps them get used to the dynamics of procedures and understand what to expect. Unlike in real life, where mistakes can be fatal, VR allows students and doctors to repeatedly repeat complex parts of the operation until they are confident in their actions. Built-in sensors and analysis algorithms in VR simulators can provide surgeons with instant feedback on what was done correctly and where mistakes were made.

VR can simulate almost any medical procedure, from basic skills such as injection or catheterization to more complex systems such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Some VR simulations include interaction with the “patient” and his relatives, which helps medical personnel hone communication skills and manage stressful situations. VR allows multiple users to participate in the same simulation simultaneously. This can be useful for training teamwork, primarily when several health workers must act in a coordinated manner in emergencies.

Treatment of mental disorders using VR

VR allows patients to reproduce traumatic events in a controlled environment, which makes the process less scary. The gradual reliving of the event under a specialist’s guidance helps the patient process traumatic memories and reduce their negative impact on the psyche. VR allows patients to control the degree of immersion in a traumatic scenario, enabling them to stop or change the experience at any moment. This creates a sense of security and control during therapy.

One of the standard methods of treating phobias is to confront the object or situation that causes fear gradually. VR allows you to simulate such cases, starting with the least frightening and progressively increasing the intensity until the patient overcomes his fear. Whether it’s fear of heights, confined spaces, or spiders, VR can realistically simulate any of these situations, allowing patients to face their fears in a safe and controlled environment. In case of a high level of anxiety or panic, the therapist can quickly change or end the VR session, providing comfort and safety to the patient.

Teaching and informing patients using VR

patients using VR

One of the key points of successful treatment is the active participation of the patient in the process and their understanding of everything that is happening. However, medical terminology and procedures can seem complicated and intimidating. Virtual reality offers a revolutionary method of teaching and informing patients.

VR allows patients to “see” their disease in a three-dimensional image, whether a tumor, arterial disease, or an inflammatory process. This makes abstract medical terms more understandable. As presented in popular science films, the ability to “travel” inside your body is now becoming a reality. Patients can “visit” their organs and learn about their functions and features, improving their understanding of their health.

Before a complex procedure or operation, patients can go through all the stages virtually to know what awaits them. This can help reduce anxiety and fear of impending intervention. Instead of just listening or reading instructions, patients can actively participate in the process, honing skills or learning new treatment methods.

Visually seeing their disease or problem motivates patients to treat, follow the doctor’s recommendations, and change their lifestyle. Introducing game elements into VR education can encourage patients to participate more actively in the treatment process, making it less monotonous and enjoyable.

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