How Do VR Healthcare Clinics Work?

Photo - How Do VR Healthcare Clinics Work?
Virtual reality has become increasingly prevalent in various fields of healthcare. It is used for training students, treating patients, medical marketing, and providing people with information about their health status.

Applications of VR in medicine

Immersive healthcare has been revolutionizing patient treatment and medical education for several years now.

Universities are increasingly using VR simulators to train doctors in virtual operating rooms, while virtual clinics are leveraging immersive environments to treat patients in new and innovative ways. 

1. Creating anatomical models

VR technology allows for highly detailed visualization of organs in the human body. This means that medical students can now study anatomy on online models, rather than through the traditional method of dissecting cadavers.

Computer graphics enable the creation of accurate and intricate models of any part of the body. To enhance training, scenarios can be developed to simulate real-life surgical situations with precision.

One notable project tackling this challenge is Virtual Medicine. Slovakian developers have designed a VR platform with various courses for studying anatomy, suitable for schoolchildren, students, and even practicing surgeons.

2. Pain management

The use of virtual reality can be helpful in the rehabilitation of patients with severe pain. For example, patients recovering from skin grafts undergo VR-assisted procedures during daily wound care. This technology also eases daily injections for sick children and rehabilitation after chemotherapy.

During laboratory studies, it has been found that the immersive environment distracts patients from their own sensations. Therefore, virtual reality is increasingly used to alleviate patients' pain, especially when anesthesia or sedatives cannot be used.

The Rocket VR Health project has made the most progress in this area. The platform's team has launched their own metaverse where patients with severe pain syndromes and mental health disorders can be "placed." Beautiful natural landscapes, the sounds of forests, bird songs, and the sound of waves help patients cope with anxiety, panic attacks, and distract them from focusing on their own suffering.

3. Addiction treatment

Medical virtual reality has proven to be effective in helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction. This approach uses gradual exposure to help patients learn how to respond to their typical triggers in the real world. By practicing in their own environment within a simulated situation, patients can better resist common temptations before facing them again in the physical world.

One project tackling this challenge is called Hatsumi, which brings together programmers, clinical psychologists, neurologists, and public health officials.
Hatsumi's virtual reality platform offers group therapy sessions for people struggling with addiction and provides individual consultations for women who have experienced sexual violence. Using an avatar in therapy can reduce trauma for these patients.

4. Dementia treatment

Virtual reality has emerged as a powerful tool in the fight against age-related cognitive decline and degenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

Technology is helping seniors improve their mobility, cognitive function, and social skills by engaging in virtual environments with others.
One organization leading the charge in this area is Rendever, which aims to combat social isolation among the elderly.

Rendever's Metaverse allows the creation of locations from video and photo materials. Engineers can build rooms, houses, or even streets that can only be seen in the patient's imagination. However, it no longer exists in the physical world. Platform clients can not only stroll through the places of their youth but also invite their friends to share their warm memories.

In addition, staff can use various tools, such as 3D modeling or "reanimation" of memories, to activate the brain function of their patients. Moreover, children and grandchildren of patients can observe the process and even participate in the treatment to eliminate any risk of manipulation by staff.

Immersive medicine offers much more than just the applications mentioned above. Currently, there are several ongoing projects being developed, including: 

  • Rehabilitation of stroke patients.
  • Treatment of agoraphobia and claustrophobia.
  • Virtual training for surgical teams using digital patient avatars.

And this is just a partial list of the possibilities the Metaverse offers doctors.