Medicine Is Going High-Tech with Virtual Reality

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Virtual Reality Training Surgeons February 2016

Early in the decade we first started catching wind of developments in the field of virtual reality.  Now, just a few short years later, it’s all but here.  While products such as Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard are already being used, the idea of virtual reality is still catching on amongst consumers.

However, the uses of virtual reality extend far beyond mere entertainment.  In fact, the medical field may be outshining the consumer market when it comes to embracing virtual reality.  The benefits prove too rife to ignore, and thus new methods based on this technology are emerging quickly.

In truth, virtual reality has been used to treat special cases for some two decades already.  People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, severe phobias, and chronic pain have been treated using VR for around twenty years.

Now the format is ready to go mainstream and the effects are bound to be glorious.

How Medicine Will Benefit from Virtual Reality

One major benefit lies in medical training.  In the past, medical practitioners had to be exceptionally careful how they handled training recruits new to the field.  Patients typically aren’t fond of being the subjects of experiments, and would prefer their procedures to be handled by experienced professionals, not trainees.  This presented a problem when it came to getting young doctors and surgeons the right amount of experience.

This problem is no longer relevant, thanks to virtual reality.  Trainees are now able to run through simulated procedures of varying degrees of complexity, and can do so as many times as they wish without the risk of causing harm.

Even experienced surgeons are able to practice rare procedures, which stands to benefit them greatly on the occasions when they are faced with such procedures.  This fact also stands to increase the amount of specialists, which may benefit patients who, previously, may not have had access to those specialists.

There are certain fields in which only a handful of surgeons are qualified to operate, which limits their ability to treat the encompassed conditions.  Now, with the aid of virtual reality, more specialists may be joining those fields and helping to conquer those conditions.

The Prevalence of Virtual Reality

Many hospitals and private practitioners are seeing the value of VR, and are thus cooperating with tech companies to help drive the field forward.  So, at this rate, we might see virtual reality used far more in the field of medicine than we see it used in our own homes in coming years.

Image credit: https://alexishuefner.wordpress.com/coursework/spring-2014/mind-machine-consciousness/virtual-reality/

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