Healthcare professionals should receive a short strong dose of empathy to help improve their care and make fewer mistakes, according to the researchers.
A team at Dalhousie University in Canada has reviewed two studies on virtual reality (VR) and studying how technology could help the medical world.
In recent years, RV has become popular in the gaming world. It works by simulating a specific experience, which in this case will emulate certain symptoms that a person may encounter. The user can then interact using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves equipped with sensors.
The two RV trials involved in the review were conducted in very different ways, with one involving individual sessions of eight minutes and another lasting up to 25 minutes.
They also compared how people responded after participating in a virtual reality experience in the role of the care recipient, and also when the non-immersive virtual reality environment was removed.
Despite the different formats, both studies helped those involved to better understand what it is like to have a specific disease. It also helped them improve their interaction with the person who had the health condition.
The main author, Dra. Megan Brydon said: “While the studies we’ve analyzed don’t definitely show virtual reality can help maintain empathic behaviors over time, there are many promises for research and future applications in this area.” .
The technology has been used in other areas of medicine, such as viewing operations as if the user were actually in the room and attending conferences.
The findings of the review have been published in Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Science.