Virtual reality hospitals have been a topic of interest in the medical industry for quite some time. VR hospitals are not just a gimmick; they are transforming the way we think about healthcare by providing a new way to diagnose and treat patients.
Virtual reality in healthcare is developing new processes and methods which help hospitals use the latest VR technology to improve their processes. Applications such as robotic surgery and medical VR devices are rapidly gaining popularity and are now being adopted by various hospitals and hospital personnel.
Why is VR technology suitable for hospitals?
Hospitals are an ideal place to employ Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions. Using innovative techniques and latest technologies, medical professionals are improving treatment to their patients, improving training of personnel, planning surgeries more effectively, reducing pain during treatments and more.
Some top uses of Virtual Reality in hospitals:
- Training of medical personnel
- Improving patient well-being
- Rehabilitation of patients
- Informing patients and family
- Pre-surgery analysis
- First aid training
- Pain treatment and hypnosis
- Disaster management
A highly effective use of VR in hospitals is the application of human and surgery simulation techniques. Through these simulations, doctors, specialists, nurses, and medical practitioners are able to interact with others. They can interface with patients, have discussions with other healthcare professionals, engage in training sessions and more, all in a 3D environment. This is advantageous as it minimizes contact with patients, which is especially important in the wake of the pandemic. The technology also allows patients to avail of sessions with doctors remotely, and lets medical specialists provide their services even from far-off locations.
Mobile virtual reality devices such as Google Cardboard, VR One, and Gear VR are changing the way hospitals are training doctors, nurses, and healthcare personnel. The AR/VR company Next Galaxy Corp recently partnered with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to develop VR medical instructional software for multiple medical procedures, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), intubation, Foley catheter insertion, starting an IV, nasal gastric tube insertion, critical wound care, and the Heimlich maneuver. Using specialized VR tools, trainers are better able to monitor progress of trainees, track performance, assess training effectiveness, and adjust virtual scenarios to better match their needs and skills.
Research has proven how effective VR medical training can be. According to Dr. Narendra Kini, CEO at Miami Children’s Health System, the retention level in a given year after a VR training session can be up to 80%, compared to 20% retention after only a week with traditional training.
At Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, a new wireless and mobile virtual reality system was recently launched for the first time to treat stroke victims. California-based medical device producer Penumbra worked closely with a team of doctors and therapists at the Cooper Neurological Institute to develop a program for use of the Real Immersive System. With this system, therapists can select different games which require the movement of limbs to complete tasks. Patients are able to adjust their view in a variety of virtual environments simply by looking around. Hand controllers let patients move their avatar and interact with the virtual world. The therapist monitors the patient’s progress and can increase or decrease the level of difficulty of the activities accordingly. With Penumbra’s VR system, the Cooper Neurological Institute hopes to popularize a rehabilitation format that improves the patient experience and can be adopted widely by other hospitals.
There is no denying the immense potential of virtual reality technology in hospital applications. The ability to transpose oneself into a whole new world is proving invaluable for providing newer patient perspectives, increasing empathy, and accelerating recovery in hospitals around the world.