Virtual Reality, Meet Healthcare


As various industries continue to consider what role virtual reality may play, healthcare is one sector that is going all in.

Many of the uses are for patients, including some for kids. Others are being used by medical product makers as ways to take potential buyers into the operating room.

IPG Media Lab reports that “Zimmer Biomet, a company that specializes in manufacturing orthopedic medical devices, used a custom VR experience to showcase their Signature Solutions products at the AAOS Conference (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons), which is billed as the world’s largest exhibition of orthopedic products. The company set up a VR lounge at its exhibition booth outfitted with six Samsung Gear VR headsets. Each headset was preloaded with a custom application that allows attendees to view the product demo focusing in on the various stages of a surgery experience.”

Meanwhile, iMedicalApps writes that “cardiologists with Children’s Heart Center at Stanford are developing … a comprehensive VR program for use in pediatric care.” The hospital is working with clinicians and VR designers.

One Stanford project provides viewers a “detailed, 3D heart model. It can be manipulated by viewers, letting them see not just the outside, but also inside of the heart, complete with blood flow. Target audience is students (used by the Stanford University School of Medicine) and patients.“ Another offers patients an education VR tour of a cardiac catheterization before undergoing the procedure.

Another iMedicalApps post describes a group from “King’s College Hospital, based in London, has come up with a medical app for kids getting an MRI to help ease that anxiety that uses virtual reality.”

And there’s other virtual reality help for patients.

According to another MedPage Today post, “the Hospital for Sick Children, the large pediatrics hospital in Toronto, has expanded its virtual reality offerings for patients.”

As the piece notes: “Studies have noted children report an increased sensation of presence in VR, indicating a high degree of immersion. This allows for VR to offer considerable usefulness in the pediatric population, be it for encouraging activity among those with burn injuries, or providing pain relief.”

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