Life in the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons and ways to continue business and other aspects of life, despite the constraints that prevented great physical interaction. All aspects of life were affected and some still are.
The impact on the medical and health fraternity was felt in innumerable measures, and this includes the ability to continue teaching new students and provide continuing education, which is an important part of the profession. Distance learning online is not new, but it has been used a lot more in the last year and a half throughout the education system.
Medical training is such that practical experience is an important part of the requirements and is ideal for experiential learning which in many ways is an integral part of medical practice. This is where the use of virtual reality (VR) can have a significant impact. Virtual reality is not new to healthcare, although its genesis lies in the gaming industry. It has been adapted over time to adapt to the needs of the constantly evolving medical field.
WHAT IS RV
VR is a three-dimensional computer simulation that can include multiple images in a complete environment. Once inside this world, a person can fully interact with the elements they contain as if they were also part of the created environment. This is what makes it perfect for the medical industry, in addition to the fact that there can be multiple users working together and interacting directly with each other, within the created environment, but without having to be in the same place.
Healthy RV is increasingly an option as the world changes to include improved remote communication and knowledge exchange. It can be totally immersive, which means you can simulate a complete lesson that mimics reality and a real situation in the classroom.
RV can facilitate remote learning, especially of technical health issues. Through virtual reality, for example, students can see a three-dimensional model of body organs and make them simulations of surgeries in the created environment. The simulation can be so accurate that it would approach the same experience as reality. This is useful for a practical and safe introduction to technical topics and as a teaching tool for medical students learning about the body.
Fortune Business Insights, in its report titled “Virtual Reality in the Healthcare Market,” indicated that global virtual reality in the healthcare market size stood at US $ 1.56 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach 30 -40 billion US dollars in 2026, showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 42.4 percent. ”The forecast for continued and increased use of RVs is excellent, especially with the environment current where the use of technology in health is increasing.
Outside of teaching, there are other ways in which RV can be applied in the medical field.
The use of VR in surgical procedures and as a diagnostic tool is expected to increase as the technology becomes more widespread. The RV can be used to help with surgical procedures, especially those of a technical and difficult nature that require a high level of accuracy. In one study, VR was used to allow a doctor and radiologists to “look through” a patient’s blood vessel to insert a catheter.
This research, conducted by the University of Washington Medical Center, “demonstrated how the physician could direct a catheter with electromagnetic sensors using this VR technology. Radiologists use imaging techniques to maneuver catheters through blood vessels to accurately treat patients with blood clots, stroke, cancer, and other conditions. With this VR platform, the average time it took for doctors to reach the targeted blood vessels was much shorter than the traditional X-ray method, known as fluoroscopy. “Radiologists later confirmed that the use of VR made treatment “simpler, more accurate and more efficient. Doctors also said they felt more confident in the procedure while using VR.” ( www.docwirenews.com).
There are several other cases of VR technology in healthcare that can improve various processes and improve patient care. Over time, the hope is that RVs will become an integral part of routine health care.