In the healthcare sector, corporations are looking for ways to reduce patients’ pain levels. Virtual reality has proven to be an extremely valuable ally in this regard so far. However, it turns out there may be additional benefits to using this technology. In fact, VR may be capable of triggering changes in the human brain itself. This is very different from distracting patients altogether, as this new method produces changes in the nervous system.
Multiple use Cases for VR in Healthcare
New studies performed by researchers indicate there is more to VR in the healthcare sector than originally assumed. Right now, most use cases revolve around using virtual reality as a way to distract patients from feeling too much pain. While this concept works quite well, there is always plenty of room for future improvements. One of those improvements comes in the form of using VR to trigger changes in the nervous system directly. It sounds a lot scarier than it really is, even though a lot of work still needs to be conducted in the coming months.
In most cases, healthcare organizations rely on guided imagery to treat psychological disorders. Virtual reality is a powerful tool when it comes to guided imagery, for obvious reasons. While the research into these matters is still in its infancy, initial results are rather promising. This doesn’t validate the use of VR technology in the healthcare industry right away, though. Having more options at one’s disposal is never a bad thing.
Through four different experiments, researchers were able to offer pain relief through VR in a different way. Rather than using a distraction method, the researchers used a mixture of virtual reality and other existing treatments, including cognitive behavioral therapy. So far, these new experiments seemingly hint at how VR may be a great tool when it comes to conditioning and exposure therapy. More specifically, this would help patients alter the way they respond to pain in the first place.
The bigger question is whether or not this technology is commercially viable. Prescribing a “VR treatment” is still impossible as of today. However, doctors can effectively subscribe treatments which use virtual reality technology Whether or not we will see these new methods gain any significant traction moving forward, remains to be seen. The concept is pretty promising right now, but it may not come to “market” for quite a few years to come.
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