VR a must-have in Healthcare?

By Stacy Norman
Has COVID-19 put VR at the top of the must-have technology in all healthcare facilities? Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, December 2019...

Has COVID-19 put VR at the top of the must-have technology in all healthcare facilities?

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, December 2019 the virus has spread to become a global phenomenon. 

Will the world ever be the same again? 

From face to face communication to google hangout conferencing, facetime calls with family and friends to virtual reality training.

With no idea on how long this pandemic will last It’s no surprise that companies and government officials are looking to invest in VR technology during the Coronavirus outbreak to better function safely.

VR provides the ability for healthcare professionals to spot and treat symptoms quickly which is increasingly important with this highly contagious virus. It’s safe to say that VR is the best way to make doctors more comfortable when diagnosing and treating a disease they’ve never seen before. 

Although Virtual Reality has been in the healthcare environment for training healthcare professionals, rehabilitating patients and diagnosing and treating diseases for some time the cost to the NHS has made it unrealistic in everyday healthcare.

Virti, a Bristol-based virtual and augmented reality company plans to retrain more than 15,000 NHS nurses, doctors, cleaners and porters over the following months to help the NHS deal with an expected increase in coronavirus cases.  Not only has the company already trained roughly 14,000 healthcare professionals and seemingly thousands more in the coming months but they have "significantly" cut their prices for healthcare providers during this time of need.

So what can Virti’s VR technology do?

 Military"Simulation reduces costs while increasing safety, visibility of event, and reproducibility of actions"

(Fletcher JD, et al. Science 2009)


 Aviation"The use of simulators consistently produced improvements in pilot training for jets"

(Hays R, et al. Military Psychology 2009)


Medical Students"Medical students value simulation-based learning highly. In particular, they value the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge in a safe and realistic setting, to develop teamwork skills and to develop a systematic approach to a problem"

(Weller JM, et al. Medical Education 2004)


Critical Thinking"Utlisation of VR interactivity into a nurse practotioner teaching curriculum resulted in outcomes that demonstarted a significant improvement in diagnostic reasoning and clinical decision-making."

(Burke, S. Journal of Pediatric Nursing: Nursing Care of Children and Families 2017)


CPR Training"Beneficial aspects of learning CPR in a virtual world have been confirmed."

(Creutzfeldt J, et al. JMIR Serious Games 2016)


Communication Skills"Immersive VR is an effective modality to teach communication skills to medical trainees"

(Real, Francis J. et al. Academic Pediatrics 2017)


Clinical Decision-Making"Virtual-reality technology is a viable platform for medical-simulation"

(Harrington, C. et al. The American Journal of Surgery 2018)


Reduce Costs and Improve Safety"VR can improve patient safety and reduce healthcare costs through the improvement of the medical provider’s competencies."

(Al-Elq AH. Journal of Family and Community Medicine. 2010)


Reduce Costs For Mandatory Training"VR simulation has been shown to reduce cost and improve safety in advanced life support training."

(Buttussi, F. et al. International Journal of Medical Informatics 2013)


Reduce Costs and Reduce Errors"The expected revenue, in terms of better patient care and prevention of error, provides a decisive argument for investing in VR development."

(Graafland, M. et al. The British Journal of Surgery. 2012)


Improved Performance"Higher levels of immersion produce a measurable improvement in the performance of an abstract mental activity."

(Bowman, D. at al. Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 2010)


Simulation In Health and Beyond"Simulation has established a central role in clinical education but usually focuses on learning to do things as they are already done. Imaginatively designed, simulation offers untapped potential for deep engagement with patients, publics and experts outside medicine..

(Kneebone, R. Advances in Simulation 2016)


So has the coronavirus put VR at the top of the must-have technology in all healthcare facilities?

“The potential for COVID-19 to encourage deployment of digital transformation is considerable,” says Dr Charles Alessi, the chief clinical officer of HIMSS and owner of MobiHealthNews. “In the UK, we are still at 1% in terms of using ‘digital first’ - consultations in primary care. This may well prove to be the event that transforms that.”

Quite simply the potential for VR in healthcare is limitless. VR has officially made its mark after two full decades in the marketplace. Who knows where we will be globally in 6 months time but with the adoption of VR technologies it will allow healthcare professionals to see data like never before. Allowing everyone peace of mind that for the first time in years healthcare systems will be at the forefront of technology.


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