Developments in virtual reality are transforming industries across the modern world, as the all-immersive, heightened visual experience grows in popularity and utility. Virtual reality (VR) may not be the first medical tool that comes to mind when one thinks of a hospital, but increasingly often VR is presenting itself as a powerful aid in healthcare. Healthcare professionals are turning to VR for various uses, all of which have untapped potential in improving the patient experience. Healthcare architecture firms, Simone Health, talks about 4 ways virtual reality is transforming healthcare below.
- Practicing / Planning Surgery Methods: Virtual reality empowers surgeons to completely visualize and run-through any procedure, easing anxiety and potentially increasing their success rate as a result. New or rare surgical procedures can be visualized by doctors trying to predict which methods will be most effective for a patient, ensuring that the real patient surgery goes smoothly.
- Putting Patients Minds at Ease: Studies have shown that VR in healthcare can help ease patients’ anxiety and discomfort prior to surgery or during uncomfortable medical procedures. Patients utilizing VR headsets can be completely immersed in an engaging visual experience, taking their focus off of an upcoming surgery and redirecting it to what’s going on in front of their eyes inside the VR world. This practice can reduce anxiety in both adults and children, making patients more comfortable and young visitors easier to ease into the healthcare experience.
- Assists with Rehabilitation: Virtual reality is making strides in aiding patients in rehabilitative situations, helping those struggling to regain regular balance and coordination. One major research study has shown VR can increase the speed of rehabilitation, helping patients improve physical movements in their arms and legs following a stroke. Another study saw the same effect for Cerebral Palsy sufferers trying to improve their balance. VR has already shown signs of great promise in rehabilitation, and the technology hasn’t even been perfected yet.
- Helps Mental Health Patients: Virtual Reality is not only great for physical ailments, but also mental health problems. Rather than being immersed in their surroundings, which could naturally be a stressful environment, VR allows mental health patients to escape to a more soothing place not only inside their head, but visually as well. Veterans with PTSD, for example, can transport themselves from a stressful, triggering environment to somewhere serene where they can calm their mental state.
Virtual reality has so much potential for great progress in healthcare and its effects have only just begun to be explored scientifically. Invest in some VR equipment and explore some options with your own patients today.