The expansion of virtual reality in hospitals

The expansion of virtual reality in hospitals

  • Posted On : 9/5/2018 10:00 AM

Ever wonder if there is a different way for medical professionals to enhance their skills and training in virtual reality? This way, the professionals have time to practice high-stake surgeries and training methods can be implemented in real life without using a patient. It is possible.

What is virtual reality

The definition of virtual reality is: “an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as signs and sounds) provided by a computer in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment.”

What exactly does that mean?

Virtual reality makes it possible to experience almost anything, anywhere and anytime. The immersive technology provides this experience. For example: you put on the headset and are in a zombie video game. In the moments your body will determine the movements in the game.

There are three different kinds of virtual reality: non-immersive simulations, semi-immersive simulations and fully-immersive simulations!  Non-immersive simulations allows a user to walk into an open room and the the person’s senses are stimulated to allow for peripheral awareness outside of the virtual reality.

The second kind, semi-immersive simulations, provide a better immersive experience for the user. The user is submersed more into the environment of the virtual reality, but they are not fully in the environment. This means they’re more engaged and simulated than the first kind, but there is still the sense of actual reality around them.

Fully-immersive simulations provide the most immersive experience. This is where the person is fully engaged in virtual reality. The headset allows the user to transcend to a different place, time and area of the world. This is typically used in hospitals.

Virtual reality is used for a number of different methods in hospitals from helping patient’s pain levels to preparing medical students and professionals for surgeries.

How it’s being implemented in hospitals

For hospitals, virtual reality is being used for difficult training methods to surgery training. The immersive technology is great for medical students and residents. The Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles expanded its virtual reality department to 11 new healthcare organizations, networks and universities.

It’s implementing virtual reality into all of their training methods! This saves cost on training, gives less experienced trainees “real life experience” and provides a curriculum for them to follow before stepping into a real-life scenario.

Virtual reality is being used for pediatric resuscitation training multiple times per year. The certified healthcare simulation educator states, “VR levels the playing field in a way that doesn’t happen with in-person methods and provides the flexibility for more frequent participation in simulation.”

The Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, has been experimenting with virtual reality for some time now. In 2017, 11 Cleveland Clinic surgeons and specialists performed the hospital’s third face transplant-  the most successful one so far. The woman’s injuries were so severe that the team had to prepare for this surgery in a different way by using virtual reality.

The plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist seeked to learn from previous procedures to enhance the patient’s results. The team used HoloLens to allow for holograms of their surroundings. The team used this virtual reality to practice various different methods to bring the woman the best results! From there, the team created a 3D print for the structure of the jaw bone and other facial features.

The future of medicine, surgeries and training are all pointing to virtual reality. This method can help medical professional enhance their current methods to help bring the best patient care and methods to their patients.

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