Healthcare Trends Point to VR Future
A Dallas start-up, MyndVR, has partnered with Samsung and the University of Texas to test VR tech’s effects against dementia. Senior residents in nursing homes are trying on their headgear and entering a 360-degree world that evokes nostalgia, serenity, and wonder. Instead of traditional, more brutal techniques of calming or restraining dementia patients such as drug injections or restraints, MyndVR wants to soothe them with virtual worlds. Their recent VR tests haven’t yielded results yet, but it’s evidence that healthcare trends suggest VR is an inevitable medical tool of the future.
By 2020, around 1 billion people will be over 60 years old. The need for more healthcare services such as hospitals and nursing homes is burdened with the additional need for technological updates. Professionals have been utilizing new technologies, like VR, with medical science to improve patient care and provider services to maintain pace with the growing population.
Nursing Home Solutions
Smart wearable technology, cooperation, video services, and VR are some of the new trends being seen in nursing homes to the dual benefit of providers and residents. Wearable technology allows patients to monitor themselves, their medications, and their appointments along with transmitting the information to be monitored remotely. Additionally, co-housing between senior residents provides companionship, extra observation, and affordability. Nursing homes want to promote a friendly environment instead of an isolated one, and the residents can look after one another in case a medical professional isn’t present. Cost is always a major factor, but residents that room with one another can reduce those costs at the expense of comradery.
Video services and VR bring the world to residents to further relieve isolation and anxiety. Sometimes illnesses prohibit them from leaving the nursing home, and their grip on reality begins to suffer. With video-to-video services and VR experiences, they can once again see the world and their loved ones. A positive perspective and participation can reduce agitation, depression, and other challenges associated with elder care.
VR in the Hospital
Newly constructed healthcare facilities are built with new capabilities and room for further growth. In fact, enhancing operational efficiencies is 91% of the reason healthcare facilities are being technologically adapted. Unfortunately, introducing new technology into healthcare facilities is a complicated process. They can’t shut down to renovate as they are operating 24/7, 365 days per year. People lives rely on hospitals continuously providing care. The transition is meticulous, but ongoing.
The ability to watch surgery from a first-person point of view, easing the struggles of chronic patients, and providing a comfortable atmosphere for children are among the enhanced operational advancements possibly through VR.
In the case of surgeries, VR is being utilized so other doctors, students, and loved ones can witness a live surgery. It provides numerous learning opportunities, and allows a patient’s family to virtually be there. As for chronic patients, VR can assist them the same way MyndVR is assisting dementia patients. Living a large portion of life in a hospital room can be mentally deteriorating which directly affects overall health. Through VR’s reduction of stress and pain, professionals hope patients may minimize their hospital visit and reduce costs overall.
Children are even more susceptible to hospitalization stresses, and VR is making it possible for them to experience life removed from their four walls. Football games, school events, family occasions, and more can be viewed in 360-degree vision from their hospital bed. The fully immersive world of VR affords them the life they are missing at young ages, and take their minds off their current situation.
VR benefits the healthcare industry in many ways. From bringing long-term or elderly patients relief and virtual travel, to teaching opportunities during surgery. The trends already bend towards the use of VR, and will most likely continue to do so as the technology improves. Healthcare and progress go hand-in-hand; who knows what VR will help them accomplish next.