How Virtual Reality (VR) Is Impacting the Healthcare Industry

While Virtual Reality (VR) is most commonly associated with gaming, video entertainment and retail, there is a much more significant and deeper impact that this advanced technology is making, and that is in the healthcare industry. In recent years, there are positive outcomes that are being reported by the use of VR on the lives of patients, surgeons and medical professionals.

Here’s an overview of how VR is impacting the healthcare industry.

In the U.S., pain management is a growing healthcare concern given that an estimated 100 million adults there suffer from chronic pain. An amount of approximately $17.8 billion is spent prescribing pain medication annually. While opioid medications have been used for pain management historically, it suffers from negative side effects such as delays in recovery and increased risk of permanent disability. Its use is further associated with increased hospital admissions, healthcare costs and even deaths. However, despite its flip side, the U.S. consumes 80% of the world’s opioids. In such a scenario, VR emerges as a viable alternative for management of chronic pain in patients with a majority of studies suggesting positive outcomes.

In addition to the management of chronic pain, the virtual reality technology is being used to calm patients before and during painful medical procedures, some of which result in acute pain. In December 2019, use of VR headsets at the St George Hospital in the UK showed that patients using them changed the way they experience anxiety during wide-awake surgery; 100% patients reported that wearing the VR headset improved their overall hospital experience and 94% said they felt more relaxed. Further, 80% felt less pain after wearing the headset and 73% reported feeling reduced anxiety. These are significant statistics.

 

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One Response to “How Virtual Reality (VR) Is Impacting the Healthcare Industry”

  1. Isabellajames

    Virtual Reality provides a number of innovative tools for healthcare professionals to quickly diagnose patients without putting them through complex procedures. It also helpful in medical research, studies and training where it can bring costs down and eliminate overheads by simulating real-life situations and equipment. Virtual Reality has quickly found its way into digital transformation strategies for a variety of industries. With its many innovative applications in healthcare we are all set to experience various VR-based medical procedures in the near future.

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