Virtual Reality (VR) has finally found a permanent and progressive place in medicine. The technology found its roots within medicine more than a decade ago, but was never used regularly until recently. Refined and applied, the opportunity for this tech to transform the medical field is within reach.
Global Virtual Reality Medical Training
On April 14, 2016, the first live-stream VR surgery was performed. Those interested watched the cancer surgery using Google’s Cardboard app and an Oculus Rift headset. The 360-degree filming of the cancer surgery drove Oculus to something bigger – VR medical training.
Virtual reality headsets can be used to train current and prospective surgeons on a global scale. Oculus still has a few kinks to work out (security being one major issue), but the technology is present. Helping surgeons perfect skills is just one way that VR is changing the medical landscape.
Other Uses of VR in Medicine
- Doctors Without Borders is currently looking at ways to build medical facilities using Virtual Reality technology. VR helps teams visualize possible structural and environmental problems that might arise during the construction process.
- VR is being used to help people with spinal cord injuries regain some movement. Tests are currently being done on a selection of people with (previously thought) permanent paralysis. Using VR headsets in conjunction with non-invasive techniques, subjects have been able to regain partial movement.
- Clinical psychology studies conducted at the College of London and the University of Barcelona have been using VR in the form of avatars to help clinically depressed patients learn to stop negative self-dialogue. The treatments have shown positive results.
Medical training is one area where VR has plenty of room to grow. Companies like Next Galaxy are working on ways to make VR more accessible to medical facilities ranging from retirement homes to hospitals. Simply through virtual training, these facilities can cut back on costs. This allows for budgets to be spent elsewhere, like client care or equipment maintenance.
It’s no longer a futuristic technology – Virtual Reality is now very real within the medical field and is expected to expand rapidly over the next few years.