How Immersive Technology Is Advancing Healthcare
How Immersive Technology Is Advancing Healthcare
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Virtual Reality Applications That Can Help Save Lives

    No longer just for immersive entertainment, virtual reality applications now help save lives. VR simulation technology enables better medical training , more effective health therapies, and enhanced disaster management training.

    Improving Performance in Medicine Through Clinical Skills Training

    Different medical groups are now using virtual reality applications for clinical skills training. Residents train using simulation tools to determine their level of competence and to develop essential skills. This enables them to be more effective when performing interventions on actual patients.

    CyberAnatomy Med VR is one app specifically used for clinical training purposes. The app enables students to visualize and interact with anatomy. It includes interactive tools for virtually dissecting the human body. zSpace is a similar app that enables exploration of the human body. However, this app enables students to collaborate with others at the same time. VR technology also improves surgeons’ performances and prevents complications. RASimAs, SimSurgery, and VR Training Simulator are among the VR apps that help prepare doctors before they go inside the operating room. These surgery simulators improve the speed, mobility, and efficiency of doctors.

    Transforming Healthcare Through Better Therapies

    Although there has been no conclusive research yet, many believe that VR is more effective in managing pain and accelerating recovery. Thus, healthcare professionals now widely use it in mental health therapy , motor skills rehabilitation, physical therapy , and occupational therapy.

    The Sci-Fi Prediction of VR – Pygmalion’s Spectacles. Stanley G. Weinbaum, a well-known science fiction writer from the 1930s, had the vision of what Virtual Reality is and what it may become, even before the official term was coined. In his 1930s short story Pygmalion’s Spectacles, he shares the idea that a wearer of a pair of goggles can experience fictional worlds through holographics, touch, smell and taste. This truly made him a visionary in the field of virtual reality.

    Medical games such as SnowWorld distract patients during painful procedures. The SnowWorld app was specifically designed for burn patients but can be used for pain management in general. The patient is immersed in a snow world with relaxing music to help relieve their pain. Bravemind is another VR app used in healthcare. It enables patients to confront traumatic experiences under a therapist’s supervision. Bravely facing this immersive virtual environment can help them recover from PTSD .

    Enhancing Crisis Management Training Programs

    Aside from improving healthcare and medicine, VR technology also enhances disaster preparedness and crisis management. It provides a better alternative to real-life drills, tabletop exercises, and classroom-based instructive teaching.

    For incident command officers, the Hydra Immersive Simulation System provides training for critical incidents such as rampant shooting, abductions, and terrorist attacks. This immersive simulation training develops decision-making skills critical to police officers and first responders.

    Another virtual training platform for first responders is EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment). It allows emergency responders to have a feel of actual crisis situations and prepares them for multiple scenarios. It also enables them to react to dynamic situations without endangering themselves or others.

    Preparedness Saves Lives

    By helping people prepare for potential disasters and multiple scenarios, VR technology helps save many lives. Immersion in tactical, strategic, or narrative environments helps emergency responders learn better. As they experience various potential scenarios, they can prepare and plan for a coordinated response to crisis situations.

    The State of VR in the Early 2000s. After so many capable devices on the market and so many let downs that didn’t truly capture the audience they deserved, virtual reality didn’t see much development in the early 2000s. Virtual Reality was at the background in the development of new technology. It took a step back, letting personal devices, such as computers, laptops, iPods, smartphones and tablets take over, which may very well have been the right step. With the development of new technologies, a new door was opened for virtual reality, because now head-tracking and capable displays were cheaper than ever before. However, it wasn’t before one start-up company mentioned the idea, that Virtual Reality truly took off on the consumer’s market.

    Moreover, using VR is a more cost-effective and safer way to train for disasters. There is no need to spend thousands of dollars setting up equipment for physical drills. Virtual reality applications cost much less than building real-life mock-ups of potential disasters. It is also easier to recreate these disasters digitally than in real life.

    Indeed, virtual reality applications have come a long way from mere interactive gaming. They now make our lives better and safer . With more advancements in technology, we can expect to see more VR applications in the field of medicine , healthcare, crisis management, and other industries.

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