How VR Will Shake up the Healthcare Space

March 11, 2020


Amir M

There once was a time when virtual reality was a thing of science fiction.

Even today, we tend to think of VR experiences as transporting us to fantasy lands — in immersive video gaming, for example. But did you know VR is also being used in far more productive ways, too?

One of the most productive — and most beneficial — of these is in the healthcare space. Here, virtual reality is opening the door to some incredible medical breakthroughs, many of which are anything but a game.

The crossover between VR and healthcare

To some, the worlds of healthcare and virtual reality may seem so far apart that there’d be no conceivable crossover between the two.

But we’d argue that VR and healthcare have more in common than you’d initially think.

For one: healthcare is often about predicting what might happen under certain circumstances. Being able to simulate specific medical scenarios, without risk, is a huge boon for patient care and research — and it’s something where VR has a natural fit. Likewise, virtual reality experiences are often about experiencing new (albeit digital) worlds, and there are few as unexplored than the human body and mind.  

How VR is being used in healthcare today

Whilst the concept of VR in healthcare might seem a little futuristic, this market is already developing at pace. In fact, the augmented and virtual reality healthcare market is predicted to be worth $5.1 billion by the year 2025.

Here are just a few of our favorite applications of VR in the medical field:

  • Training surgeons with virtual surgery. Medical students can watch surgeries being carried out from a first-person perspective, giving them valuable, up-close experience which they couldn’t get any other way.

  • Tackling mental health conditions with immersive experiences. Mental health is rightly top of the healthcare agenda, and VR is being used in breakthrough therapies around exposure and other areas of mental health self-care.

  • Boosting physiotherapy with VR exercises. Physiotherapy is all about building on gradual movement. “Room-scale” VR environments can replicate the experience of walking down the street, whilst the patient is in controlled conditions and safely strapped into a harness.

The far-flung future of virtual reality healthcare

There’s no telling what the future will bring, but it’s a safe bet to assume that technology will be front-and-center of our society. So if VR is already making such great strides in the medical world today, what will VR healthcare look like tomorrow?

Well, if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief for just a few moments, we can explore some surprising — but nonetheless feasible — VR-powered health solutions. 

Thanks to improvements in both IoT (Internet of Things) and 5G technologies across the globe, distance and local connectivity will cease to be a factor. 

The result? 

Well, imagine a surgeon in Japan being able to carry out a complex surgery wearing a VR headset while remotely connected to a robotic pair of hands across the world in the USA. Or perhaps consider the idea that VR could be used to physically explore intricate 3D scans of the human brain, opening the door to new discoveries in neurology. 

These things might sound like science fiction — but they’re closer than you think.  

It’s clear that a little bit of lateral thinking can go a long way in developing new solutions, especially when it comes to product design. If creative problem-solving could help boost your business, get in touch with the Blackcreek team today. What could we build together?