Over the last year, technology experts have agreed that the virtual reality space is packed with incredible potential for countless industries. While VR gaming is still breaking into the mainstream, more companies are building sophisticated experiences using our current VR platforms. Though exploration is still rudimentary for many brands like Patrón and Mariott, other markets, like healthcare, are already using VR to make an impact in their industry.
VR in healthcare is brimming with possibilities that can help everyone from medical students and surgeons to patients of all ages by educating, informing, and assisting in a variety of ways. And with VR now far beyond the experimentation phase, healthcare organizations need to be paying attention to this massive opportunity. Global Industry Analysts projects that the worldwide market for VR in healthcare will reach $3.8 billion by 2020.
(via Medical Realities)
Many healthcare organizations have already begun implementing this new technology in exciting and potentially life-saving new ways. In April 2016 at the Royal London hospital, cancer surgeon Dr. Shafi Ahmed made medical history by performing the first operation using a virtual reality camera.. Medical students, journalists, and relatives could all watch Dr. Ahmed remove a cancerous tissue from the bowel of his patient in real-time through the Medical Realities website or the VRinOR app.
In Los Angeles, Cedars-Sinai Hospital has started introducing VR experiences to their patients to help alleviate stress before and after medical procedures. Patients can now easily escape the hospital by walking through amazing Icelandic landscapes or even swimming with whales.
A final example is how Swiss start-up, MindMaze, is using virtual reality, brain imaging and video games to help victims of strokes and Parkinson’s recover faster. This technology empowers patients to visualize their movements and literally teach their brains how to use damaged limbs again.
Training surgeons. Helping physicians gain patient empathy. Enabling children confined to hospital beds to feel joy. The healthcare industry is the perfect space for virtual reality to make a real, measurable impact. If you’re a healthcare organization, sitting on the sidelines while other organizations pursue this new VR technology is not a sound strategy. Stay educated and inspired and make sure to push your own organization to be an innovator in the space, not a follower.