Virtual Reality for medical training: when to use it?

Virtual Reality for medical training is on the rise. Hospitals, care workers and even patients are discovering the – almost magical – effect of Virtual Reality (VR) in the care sector. And rightly so, because VR can be used in many situations and offers various advantages. In this article, we explain two situations in which VR offers a solution.

Let’s start by saying that many Virtual Reality possibilities are still unexplored. Both inside and outside the healthcare sector. According to Verified Market Research, the global market for VR in healthcare was worth $2.14 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $33.72 billion by 2027. Many organizations are yet to realize the opportunities VR offer.

We want to give more insight into two situations where VR offers a solution: training medical professionals and treating patients with chronic pain. Let’s take a closer look at these two situations.

Virtual Reality for training medical professionals

If you want to learn how to ride a bike, you have to practise a lot, and it’s not such a disaster when you fall and damage your bike. Fortunately, the bike can be repaired. When a medical professional has to learn to operate in a realistic environment, human lives are often involved. A mistake can’t and shouldn’t happen because human life could be at stake. That is why VR is already widely used to train medical professionals and to ensure that they keep their skills sharpened.

Besides the danger of making mistakes, healthcare institutions often have limited resources to train many healthcare personnel. For example, it is expensive for a trainee surgeon to buy cadavers to practise on. In addition, the number of medical devices in an operating theatre, for example, is often limited for training purposes.

chirurg controller

Another situation in which Virtual Reality offers a solution is when practising laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery. Here, the surgeon makes a small incision of about 1 cm in the abdomen and inserts a thin needle with a camera. Such an operation requires good depth perception. Currently, Laparoscopic surgeons use devices with a stereoscopic display: a screen through which they can see the images of the camera going into the abdomen. This often allows only one light source, making surgery difficult. Through VR and custom-made controllers, the important surgical actions can be accurately imitated to prepare the surgeons for real-life scenarios. This is the case with the serious game ‘Underground‘.

Treating chronic pain with Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality can help make rehabilitation more pleasant. VR can give someone the feeling they are in another world. This technique can be adopted to make patient rehabilitation exercises easy and an immersive experience to reduce pain.

A good example of such an innovation is Reducept: winner of the World Summit Award in the category ‘Health & Well Being’. This game helps patients deal with chronic pain. In addition, the game makes the patient aware of where the pain comes from. In the game, patients go on a journey through their own body and learn techniques for reducing chronic pain in a fun way. Find out how:

Conclusion

Virtual Reality is a good solution for medical training. It makes the education and training of medical staff more accessible and – after a one-off investment – saves a considerable amount of money. Despite the fact that the technology is becoming easier to use, we advise you to obtain sufficient information about the purchase and installation of VR for medical training.

Virtual Reality does not always mimic the reality in surgery. That is not a bad thing. The accessibility and simplicity of VR help to get staff better trained because they can practice often.

tim-laning

Want to know more about Virtual Reality for medical training or do you need help with development? Please contact Tim Laning to discuss it:

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