Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Healthcare Industry

Volodymyr Hodiak
Volodymyr Hodiak
April 28, 2023 13 min read 476 views
April 28, 2023 13 min read 476 views

Virtual and Augmented Reality in the Healthcare Industry 

Healthcare is a well-funded industry that is first on the line to adopt new technological innovations. You would ask why? Because the stakes are higher than anywhere else. The healthcare business’s main focus is human life and patient experience.

 It seems fitting that VR and AR tools made their way to the medical care industry, revolutionizing many aspects of it. ​Augmented reality apps for healthcare provide solutions to the most significant challenges and pain points for medical professionals. The applications of VR/AR technology in the healthcare field are vast, from improving medical training and education to enabling remote rehabilitation and assisting during surgery. 

Read on to explore ways in which virtual and augmented reality is transforming healthcare and what the future holds for this out-of-this-world technology. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Healthcare Sector: Market Overview 

The global pandemic in 2020 spiked the digitalization of the healthcare industry. The estimated value of the worldwide healthcare VR market was $336.9 million by the end of drastic 2020. Moreover, Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research stated that healthcare is one of the top 3 industries that will remain leaders in implementing VR/AR technology up to 2025. 

Want to know an even longer forecast period? ResearchAndMarkets released that the global AR market will generate $152 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 36%, while the healthcare Augmented Reality market will register CAGR of 26% during the 2022-2027 period. 

With experts forecasting significant growth in Ar and VR market, it’s clear that this technology is bound to play a vital role in the future of healthcare services. 

VR/AR Solutions in Medical Care System

The healthcare industry faces numerous challenges, from logistical issues to limited access, equipment availability, and personnel shortage. These pain points are especially prominent on the ground level, where demand far exceeds supply. Yet, implementing virtual and augmented reality in healthcare helps hospitals and other medical facilities tackle those challenges. By creating a mixed reality and immersive experience, VR/AR helps medical professionals overcome logistical barriers, develop practical skills in safe and controlled environments, and access innovative medical equipment to bridge the gap caused by practitioners shortage. 

The potential of VR and AR technology to transform medical sectors is undeniable. Let’s dive deep to explore how this cutting-edge technology works in real life. 

Implementing VR solutions in the Healthcare field 

Let’s take a look at 9 real-life examples of how augmented reality applications and virtual reality in healthcare helps doctors, medical students, and facilities to elevate patient care. 

Medical Training with VR Software 

VR technology changes the way of practical medical training, providing a safe environment for practitioners to acquire hands-on skills. This type of healthcare VR simulates scenarios that are difficult, dangerous, or costly to recreate in real life. Once inside a VR app’s immersive environment, users can complete predetermined steps in medical procedures, operating on a 3D model. The system records and tracks actions to evaluate performance on set criteria, allowing effective skill development and targeted training. The real-life cases of applying VR medical training software include various scenarios, from emergency case simulation and medical equipment use training. 

VR Solutions for Surgeons 

VR software offers surgeons a risk-free space to perform mock surgeries and develop practical skills. With VR, a medical professional can boost skills and knowledge of surgical procedures without breaking the budget on one-time used mannequins. 

So how does it work? A surgeon uses haptic controllers to perform virtual surgeries in a simulated operating room. The software guides the user through the necessary steps, allowing them to remember and recreate the correct sequences of actions. Additionally, VR apps are a great tool to explain surgical processes to patients, improving their understanding of the procedure. 

Introducing VR in Medical Education 

VR software offers immersive and interactive learning experiences that allow medical students and healthcare professionals to inspect 3D medical models in detail and communicate with AI- controlled virtual patients. Introducing VR into the medical education process can optimize learning, from boosting anatomy knowledge to improving medical social skills. AI-powered tutor creates a safe and controlled virtual environment for students, whether for big groups or individual classes.

VR for Physical Therapy 

Medical facilities can help patients in injury recovery and general orthopedics, with tailored online sessions for children and the elderly, by bringing physical therapy into virtual reality. Such software makes patient care accessible for people with mobility issues. VR systems can also train patients how to use assistive devices or prosthetic limbs. 

Physical therapy VR software provides patient supervision by an AI-powered instructor or remote medical professional. The analytics system scans patients’ progress and health state indicators like heart rate through an input device.

AR Solution for Surgery Assistance 

Augmented reality technology is widely used to perform robotic-assisted surgery. Sounds like a Si-Fi movie? AR app overlays patients’ images, X-rays, blood pressure, health records, and other data onto the surgeon’s field of view, allowing for a more precise understanding of the human body. With AR, surgeons can visualize hidden structures, improving surgical outcomes and reducing the likelihood of errors that can cost a life. 

AR solutions can be a tool for surgical planning to help professionals to generate better approaches that guarantee the safety of the upcoming procedure. 

VR for Rehabilitation 

VR app turns rehabilitation exercises into a motivating, gamified experience for patients. With virtual goals, achievements, and progress trackers, patients get more encouraged to strive for better results and improve faster. Therapists can track the patient results and edit the program in the VR app. Built-in AI instructor provides flexible individual rehabilitation and guidance, analyzing the data from wearable devices. Such VR software uses neurological rehabilitation, physical therapy, and cognitive rehabilitation. 

Using VR for Stroke Rehabilitation 

With VT technology, patients who suffered a stroke can access a vast library of exercises designed to restore motor skills and improve spatial orientation without any risk to themselves or others. Such software slows users to complete repetitive tasks in the virtual environment while ML algorithms and diagnostic tools monitor their progress and adjust the difficulty level to ensure their improvement. With VR stroke rehabilitation apps, therapists and patients can work together remotely, reducing treatment and transportation costs.

VR Software for Pain Management 

VR pain management software is used for chronic and acute pains, pain during a medical procedure, and mental health issues and anxiety. VR apps serve as a distraction and diverse patients’ attention using smart glasses, immersing them in a highly realistic and soothing atmosphere with visual and audio stimulation. 

Medical Training and Education Simulation with AR/VR

VR and AR solutions tackle the shortage of trained healthcare professionals for medical education and training. VR healthcare application provides an immersive simulation where students can learn anatomy, the use of specific equipment, and medical procedures processes. Virtual/augmented reality tool guarantees access to critical training in vital medical skills, making the education process cost-effective, efficient, and more engaging.

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What Does the Future Hold for AR/VR Technology in Healthcare? 

Creating VR/AR solutions for the healthcare industry comes with a huge responsibility, as the stakes are higher than in any other field. Therefore, we only get high-quality and out-of-this-world tools that tackle each challenge in the medical care sector. The achievements of augmented and virtual reality in healthcare already amaze the world, and the developers are not slowing their horses down. With continued advancement, the potential for AR/VR technology in the medical field is enormous, from robotic device applications to immersive treatment programs. So let’s buckle up and see what mind-blowing breakthrough VR/AR will bring the healthcare soon! 

Benefits of AR/VR in the Healthcare Business

Implementing in the healthcare augmented reality and virtual environment is the breakthrough of the century. The benefits of VR/AR technology for medical use are countless. Here are the top advantages of introducing VR and AR tools in the healthcare business: 

  1. Enhancing medical training: VR/AR software offers a safe, controlled, immersive environment for learning, allowing medical students to obtain vital skills in the simulation without actually cutting into patient skin and risking their life.   

  2. Improving patient outcomes: AR/VR elevates medical treatment and helps practitioners deliver outstanding patient care. 

  3. Offering accessible healthcare: VR/AR is used to provide remote consultation, physical therapy, and rehabilitation through gadgets like Google Glass, VR apps, and other handheld devices, reducing the need for in-person visits and travel costs.

  4. Improving patient satisfaction: AR/VR apps enhance the patient’s experience by providing simulation and visualization of further medical procedures or treatments. This can reduce the stress patients are going through and act like a pain management tool. 

  5. Advancing in medical research: VR/AR technology is a great assistant for testing new treatments and therapies. Utilizing Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, VR, and AR create a platform for medical research and the development of innovative devices and technology. 

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