There are multiple areas where Virtual Reality (VR) can contribute to healthcare. These includes mental well-being, physiotherapy, pharmaceutical development, and education for professionals and patients. In particular, we will take a look at education for professionals.
The need for accurate medical illustrations for education is undeniable. Since the nineteenth century, textbooks such as Gray’s Anatomy (1858), which is a reference book of human anatomy, gave medical professionals insights into the complex human body. 3D technology was then incorporated to allow for better visualization. Now, VR is the next iteration of such medical educational tools to improve the learning and understanding process of our bodies. VR is able to provide users with real-world simulations through dynamic visuals and more importantly, a risk-free and realistic training ground.
VR in surgical training
VR is especially useful in surgical training. It comes in handy since taking away experienced surgeons from treating patients to train students is expensive and may have adverse impacts on their patients. VR training beats learning from textbooks and watching videos which do not provide the required hands-on experience. In addition, students can use virtually created models of medical equipment that are not easily accessible and perform procedures without risking any lives.
Why VR in medical training is engaging
There is always demand for competent medical professionals. The application of VR in the medicine field intrigues me as technology has long been used for the application of medicine, and not the education of medical professionals. VR can serve as a mean to reduce the chance of human errors through simulation training. Users can build muscle memory for certain procedures and hone their psychomotor skills. A meta-analysis of the relationship between medical error and simulation training has revealed that simulation can reduce medical error and prevent some risks related to medical treatment (Sarfati 2019)
What is next for VR in medical training
Indisputably, VR aids medical training through detailed imagery which shows the inner workings of the complex human body. The hands-on experience provided is indispensable to the education of medical professionals. Perhaps, future development may focus on collaboration in the simulations. Much of the medical applications are team-based so such developments may help users familiarize with their counterparts in training.
Sarfati, Laura, et al. “Human‐simulation‐based learning to prevent medication error: A systematic review.” Journal of evaluation in clinical practice 25.1 (2019): 11-20.