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4 Ways Virtual Reality Is Being Used in Healthcare

Virtual reality already has a number of important uses, and is definitely a value-add that medical device designers should not ignore.

Qmed Staff

Virtual reality has become a legitimate technological platform for improving healthcare, Daniel Kraft, MD, chairman of the Exponential Medicine Conference, recently explained to Worrell Design

Here are the four major ways Kraft sees virtual reality being used in medicine:

  1. Pain management. Just over the summer, AppliedVR (marketing image on right) announced a partnership with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to bring virtual reality content to patients in the hospital's orthopedic, spine, and surgery center. The whole idea is to help patients manage pain by distracting them with an interactive world full of games. 
  2. Medical Education. In April, Medical Realities (London) announced it was the first in the world to present a virtual reality 360-degree live stream of a surgery on a cancer patient to anyone who had a VR headset. The company is among a number using 360 video and 3-D interactive content to bring both physicians and students inside virtual operating environments to experience procedures they may not have ready access to otherwise.
  3. Mental Ilness Treatment. Bravemind, for example, is a virtual reality-based therapy tool for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a major concern for the U.S. military after the highly stressful combat situations of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Bravemind helps PTSD sufferers gradually relive their previous traumatic experiences in a controlled environment in order to better process through the emotions resulting from the experience. 
  4. Physical Therapy and Excercise. Startups including VirZoom and Widerun are combining cardio workouts with virtual reality.

Check out more examples in Worrell's blog post. This Qmed slideshow from April has even more examples. 

Find out more about connected medical device innovation at BIOMEDevice San Jose, December 7-8, 2016. 

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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[Image courtesy of AppliedVR]

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