A pleasant change in healthcare with ‘Medical VR.’
“Medical virtual reality (VR) goes totally against the traditional beliefs of technology transforming healthcare to less caring, less empathetic and less human.”
Medical students learn from Virtual Reality (VR) on how to make vaccination more painless or sufferable for children, helps in fighting different forms of phobias, relieves chronic pain and even fulfils last wish of the dying.
Medical virtual reality & its many faces
The use of VR in healthcare has gained momentum. However, the technology has yet to spread all across the globe and promising achievements beyond anticipation. In its 2016’s report, Goldman Sachs estimated that approximately 8-million physicians healthcare technicians could use Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR)-powered products worldwide. This number is further expected to grow to nearly 3.5-million by 2025. Psychiatry, surgery, rehabilitation medicine, psychology and medical education are a few of many other healthcare niches to benefit from VR.
You probably cherish the benefits of ‘find a doctor apps’ being a doctor yourself which can even help in assisting an operation without every lifting a scalp or even taking any advanced preparation for complex cases. As for a medical student, you can even study a human body closer than ever to get the real feel of operations and prepare yourself for the big day.
In the end, patients would benefit the most! Virtual Reality has proved its worthwhile support in managing chronic pain, treats phobias, fears and even helps survive medical episodes from agonising childbirth to vaccination. Take for instance VR making faster and easier rehabilitation from the neck, spinal or other serious injuries, with the possibility to escape the hospital’s environment to a place of your liking.
All these cases illustrate to medical VR is an excellent solution for addressing issues which makes healthcare journey friendlier and more agreeable by sidestepping pain, dispersing fear, offers additional care and empathy. The examples below would further make things clear of technology’s contribution to medical science.
Medical students are taught to be empathic
Although medical students are deeply engaged in anatomies and real-life cases that not all may share this view, one of the most challenging for a doctor is to eradicate the communication gap between the patient and the doctor. Empathy is essential here which is best described by Paul Kalanithi in his amazing book; When Breath Becomes Air;
“Whether out of dignity or shock, silence usually reigns and so holding a patient’s hand becomes the mode of communication.” He said this following his communication with a patient who had his chemotherapy of the brain and prognosis for a brain tumour.
That said; delivering serious and difficult news to a patient’s family about a cancer diagnosis or worse, death requires the significant strength of the mind and doctor’s empathy apart from the usual practice. This is when VR comes to the rescue.
Researchers from the Medical Cyberworlds Inc. alongside the University of Michigan participated in research with nearly 421 students on the use and impact of VR in patient-doctor communication. Empathic-VR technology was used during the research which allows users to communicate with computerised virtual humans with emotions, the ability to see, hear and react to them in real time.
These VR human counterparts’ mimics a wide-range of behaviours as can be expected from two actual people interacting with each other. Applying the strategy in future curriculums, medical students would be able to take on the ability to fluently communicate before clinical exposure and real-life exposure.
More tolerable vaccination
Most of us have needle phobia; the fear of needle whereas some couldn’t simply get over the pain they experience during vaccination. August 2016’s study conducted by the American Academy of Paediatrics even revealed that parents mostly delay their children’s essential vaccination only due to discomfort.
It’s quite interesting to see the way doctors implement certain strategies in helping patients and even educate them to look for conspicuous spots, even tell comforting jokes and stories. These tasks are gradually being integrated into advanced doctor’s apps for maximum results. So the next time you seek doctor’s consultation or even conducting doctor search, it’s likely of you to use virtual reality tech.