Innovation in Healthcare Delivery with Virtual Reality
Virtual reality (VR) technology isn’t just for fun-and-games anymore. It is being used in healthcare and other industries to solve real-world problems. Instead of applying technology to just provide a diagnosis and treatment, patient VR technology provides healthcare solutions in a very different way—it helps healthcare professionals understand what it’s like to be a patient or recipient of healthcare.
* Virtual Reality growth curve created by KZero and BI Intelligence.
We all know that digital technology has become a vital tool for healthcare professionals. From apps designed for diabetes management to surgeons who perform long-distance operations or tele-surgery, (sales of medical robots are increasing by 20% each year!), tech is making healthcare more convenient and less expensive. What can we expect next?
Leveraging Virtual Reality to Enhance Patient Care
Let’s look at it from the patient’s perspective. Innovative VR technology is helping healthcare professionals to experience the vulnerability and fear that patients experience in a way that has never been accessible to them before. The potential of VR technology in broader patient care is endless. Here are 3 areas where virtual reality is making a real difference for patients:
1. Exposure Therapy
Imagine the benefits of creating a controlled environment for patients. Setting the scene for healing, VR technology provides a controlled environment where patients get the opportunity to face their fears, anxiety, and other life worries. It also provides a platform to practice coping strategies and breaking patterns of avoidance. VR creates a setting that’s safe, private, and which can be stopped or repeated depending on the patient’s circumstances.
2. Pain Management
What about pain management during the healing process? For certain patients, for instance a burn victim, pain is ongoing and often unbearable. Therapy via VR technology can assist them to cope with such pain. A VR video game, for example, can alleviate pain by overwhelming the various senses and pain pathways in the patient’s brain, assisting them to gain some control over the pain and to learn how to relax the affected areas in the body.
3. Meditation and Relaxation
Virtual reality apps can provide a welcome distraction. Guided Meditation VR can transport patients to their dream destinations where they can relax and find happiness. Patients can embrace the spectacular view of a sunset, calm their mind in an ancient Japanese dojo, or breathe out their worries in the soothing rain.
In some circles, there is a certain amount of anxiety regarding what will happen when people are able to go anywhere through a VR headset—some people argue that maybe they will not have the motivation to go anywhere in the real world in favor of retreating into the ideal virtual world. However, the thing is, for people who don’t have the ability to go out and experience the real world (the disabled and the elderly, for example), VR could boost their quality of life when they would otherwise be confined to a hospital room or bed.
Cubicle Ninjas create virtual reality applications that make patients happier and positively impact their day-to-day lives. Apps such as the Guided Meditation VR are very resourceful tools for any healthcare facilities that aim at enhancing their patients’ experience. Greater patient experience can go a long way in helping patients heal faster—with minimal chances of re-admission. VR technology is not only beneficial to healthcare workers; it has provided a brand new perspective to patient experience and healthcare delivery. What will you do with it?