Virtual Reality (VR) is booming at the moment. Two years ago, Markets and Markets wrote a report outlining that the VR healthcare market grew to $976 million. That is an increase from $525 million five years earlier. Current research also shows that the VR and AR (Augmented Reality) healthcare market will grow to $5.1 billion within the next five years or so.
The Oculus Go and Rift in Healthcare
Many companies are getting on board with this life-changing technology. And it really will be life-changing when it’s fully incorporated in the healthcare sector. One such company, VRHealth, is currently using the Oculus Go and Rift to help provide solutions to a wide variety of health problems. These include the management of pain for cancer patients and birthing mothers to alleviating the symptoms of anxiety that patients experience both before surgery and afterward.
Eran Orr, the CEO of VRHealth, believes that VR is going to change healthcare entirely and that it will be in all hospitals within three years. The tech continues to grow too. Let’s not forget the very first iPhone and how much the phones had moved on since its inception all that time ago. Oculus, also, is creating and evolving new technology all the time.
VR will work as a platform. It can be used by a clinician or patient alike. Because of its platform nature, all healthcare professionals will have access to a patient’s full data at once. The patient can then use this data to continue their treatment or rehab at home. Let’s have a look at some of the possibilities that technology can bring.
Psychology and VR
The very fact that when you put on a VR headset, you virtually leave the hospital has immense bonuses. It can transport a patient to another world, which can help to improve a patient’s experience and rehab process, especially in the case of substance withdrawal.
One significant aspect of the technology is that a patient does not necessarily need to be in a hospital to be evaluated. Patients will be able to be assessed remotely with comprehensive screening possible in the home. This technology can save precious time for medics and patients alike.
VR technology also allows healthcare workers to improve their skills and refresh their education in a safe, risk-free environment. The VR Technology can even extend to surgeons who are trying out new methods or want to practice a risky operation before going for it for real.
One widespread use of VR headsets such as those by Oculus is in robotic surgery. Robotic surgery is where a robotic device used to perform surgery. A human surgeon controls the machine. This method reduces the time it takes to carry out an operation and reduces the risks of complications. It even offers the chance of remote telesurgery, where a surgeon operates a robotic surgery machine remotely from a different location to the patient.
The vital principle feature of this type of operation is “force feedback.” This allows the surgeon to gauge the correct amount of pressure when they are carrying out a delicate procedure.
However, it isn’t yet perfect. There is the issue of latency and time delay, which is a significant concern. One millisecond can feel unusual to a surgeon, and therefore, the procedure will be interrupted.
Other Examples in Healthcare of the Uses of VR
VR isn’t just limited to what we’ve discussed above (VR operations, psychological uses, and medical education). It can also be used in dentistry, therapies, treatment for autism, for PTSD, for phobia treatments, and the disabled. Indeed, just today, I saw a video online about a teenage girl who was legally blind due to a brain tumor. Using a VR headset allowed her to be able to read for the first time in six years! The possibilities of VR in healthcare are endless.
As a Diagnostic Tool
VR is currently being used and trialed as a diagnostic tool along with other regular medical tests like scans, blood tests, and x-rays. VR can help medics determine what the cause of the patient’s medical condition is. This could reduce the need for surgery or other investigations, which could be more risky and time-consuming.
VRHealth and Oculus Go and Rift
As mentioned, VRHealth is using the Oculus Go and Rift as a solution to some health challenges already. The tools it uses are non-invasive and use artificial intelligence (AI) and ‘cloud-computing algorithms’ that deliver an analysis of the data. The data is then quantified and uploaded to a portal instantly, giving healthcare professionals a host of information that can then be used to form a personalized treatment plan for a patient.
Eran Orr explains that when people first think about VR, they think about fun, games, and entertainment as these were the first applications of the technology. But, he goes on to say that if we apply the effects to healthcare, it has excellent potential for improving lives and helping medics to provide comfortable, personalized experiences for patients.
Just think about how our medical treatments could be transformed. We might be able to see expert medical professionals from other countries who are experts in their fields without stepping out of our front doors. We might be able to treat children’s ADHD with headsets and phobias treated with virtual immersion therapy. Our surgeons can operate from afar in real-time. Our healthcare educators can show their medical students the inside workings of our anatomy without having to use a real-life patient (or a cadaver). Only time will tell how much VR will help in the healthcare industry in the future, in particular how the Oculus Go and Rift will be used. VR in healthcare services is no longer in the realms of science-fiction. Virtual Reality in healthcare is, well, actual Reality.
Thank you for visiting ARVRhealth.com. If you liked this information, please share it with a friend. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information in AR and VR in the healthcare industry and beyond. If you know of an app, service, or company using augmented reality in travel, or virtual reality in health that we should feature here, please contact us using the contact form, we would love to hear from you.