Virtual reality (VR) in healthcare basically means applying VR apps for healthcare purposes. This includes –
- Medical Training
- Pain Management
- Surgical Simulation and so on.
With the large-scale adoption of VR in the healthcare industry, it is now being used to tackle multiple medical issues. The major 3 sectors are
- VR for medical education. Medical students are learning VR applications under proper guidance without any risk of hurting patients during their practice.
- VR for surgery. VR plays a very crucial role in the surgery department as it eases the effect of a global shortage of surgeons. It helps in educating the industry with fewer resources in vital circumstances.
- VR for pain management. Patients suffering from chronic painful conditions use VR experience to ease their pain which also acts as a distraction from pain. Research shows that it is more effective than traditional methods of distraction and healing.
Market Study of VR in the Healthcare industry In North America
The North American VR healthcare market size is expected to showcase steep growth in the upcoming future due to the growth of health tech development solutions. The healthcare VR market is expected to reach $5.1 bouillon dollar by 2025 in North America and Europe. Around 82% of healthcare professionals believe that VR and AR are effective tools for medical education, and nearly 6-% of the patient population are ready to try VR as an alternative to routine healthcare.
There’s an increase in the adoption of clinical trials, advancements in diagnostics and surgical procedures, treatment options for psychological disorders, etc. All of these are expected to accelerate market growth.
According to WHO, it is predicted that there will be a 55% increase in annual cardiovascular disease events between 2015 – 2030 which is based on the senior population in the North American market. Virtual Reality technology solutions are extensively used for telemedicine, remote monitoring app developments, hands-on experience in medical education, visualisation for anatomy and clinical diagnostics.
The North American VR healthcare market has been categorised and sub categorised into the following categories:
1. Based on components –
- Software, and
2. Based on technology –
- Virtual Reality: Simulation, Diagnostics, Virtual Reality exposure therapy (VRET) and pain
- Augmented Reality: Surgical applications, rehabilitation and training in medical education
3. Based on the country –
- The United States
- North America
It has been found that geographically, the North American market holds a significant share in the AR and VR healthcare global market due to some of the important dominant factors, including – its increasing technological developments in IT, improvement in the public and private funding on the development of the technology, the presence of healthcare app developer, manufacturers and suppliers coupled with extensive R&D activities, etc.
Broad Types Of VR in Healthcare
The 3 broad types of VR include:
- Non-Immersive Virtual reality: These types of VR apps have limited capacity and do not replace the images seen by the user rather images are just displayed on a screen. However, immersive VR has shown efficacy in enhancing surgeons’ motor skills and attention span.
- Semi-immersive VR: These types of VR apps are successfully used in the healthcare sector to improve rehabilitation in patients suffering from chronic painful health conditions.
- Fully-immersive simulation VR: These VR apps developed by healthcare app developers can completely replace the real world for the user. For example, Oxford Nursing Simulation for Nurses conducts nursing training in a completely virtual environment.
VR Health Applications
Following are some of the ways Virtual Reality apps developed by health tech development companies are used in the healthcare sector:
- Medical Education via VR: With the help of 360-degree video and immersive 3D content medical students are capable of acquiring vast and innovative information regarding the medical field. With VR solutions, healthcare app developers are creating innovative learning programmes where students and treating physicians learn new skills and obtain knowledge without risking the patient’s health. For example, the Random 42 technique in VR offers a virtual tour of the human body. It helps the students to understand the floating between blood cells, examine the working of the neural system, etc.
- Virtual Diagnostics: The field of diagnostics gets a great benefit from the use of Virtual Reality tools in healthcare, for example – the successful use of VR in neuroscience, in which a small portable device called NeuroDotVR measures the activities of the brain in response to the visual stimulation received by the patient via VR healthcare devices. Using a smartphone, VR headset and NeuroDot device, it is also possible for a doctor to measure neuroelectric data which inurn helps in diagnosing health conditions like glaucoma, and amblyopia, the capability power of the eyes to adopt darkness.
- Mental Illness treatment using VR Technology: Certain types of mental disorders can be effectively treated using VR technology known as exposure therapy which is a flexible and low-risk tool for therapists.
- Pain Management using VR Technology: Chronic pain was earlier treated using various pain distraction methods. Today, health tech development companies have developed innovative VR solutions to manage this health condition. For example, Some leading tech companies in Moncton Canada focus on effective chronic pain management using VR tools.
- Fitness and Therapy via VR: According to a study conducted by The Virtual Reality Institute of Health and Exercise on the human body, it has been found that healthcare in VR can effectively change the approach of encouraging people to fitness and exercise.
- VR for surgery: VR in the surgery field has been in use for quite some time now. For example, Osso VR is a surgical training and assessment platform which helps future surgeons learn and get trained, uplifting their confidence in dealing with real patients. VR in surgery is also used to explain the surgery process to the patients.
It has been forecasted that virtual care or remote monitoring app development will be on the rise in the upcoming future and will likely become widely adopted. Being used as a powerful visual simulation tool, Virtual Reality shows steady and promising results in slowing memory loss and improvements in Alzimeher’s patients and mental health disorders.