Advantages of virtual reality in medicine
Virtual reality is used in many areas of healthcare which range from diagnosis, treatment, e.g. surgery, rehab and counselling. It is also used to train the next generation of doctors, paramedics and other medical personnel and has shown a range of benefits from doing so.So what are the advantages of virtual reality in healthcare? There are several which are related to medical/surgical training, preventative medicine, counselling and architectural design of new hospitals and many more.
Let’s start with virtual reality as a means of training healthcare professionals. It is used in medical schools and other similar settings as a means of education and instruction. It enables medical students to acquire knowledge and understanding about the human body by means of interaction within a virtual environment.
Virtual Reality Dentistry
But virtual reality isn’t only confined to medical schools. Dentistry is another area in which it plays a part. For example, there is a system known as ‘HapTEL’ which is based upon haptics (Greek for touch) in order to train new dentists. This virtual dental chair includes a training scenario in which the student is shown a 3D set of teeth .
They perform a range of procedures, e.g. a filling using a virtual drill which replicates the movement and pressure of a real drill by means of force feedback.
It is also used to train paramedics and other similar personnel who need to learn life saving skills but without placing themselves and their patients at risk. These scenarios are realistic and enable them experience a high pressure situation and respond accordingly.Virtual reality is used to educate patients about positive lifestyle choices, such as stopping smoking, moderate alcohol intake, healthy eating and exercise.
Counselling is another area where virtual reality has been utilised. A classic example is phobia treatment, like a fear of public speaking where the sufferer is able to learn skills and build up their confidence in a virtual environment.
It also used to treat people who have developed post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a life threatening situation. This takes the form of a pair of virtual reality glasses or head mounted display (HMD), data glove and input device, e.g. joystick.
Virtual reality is used by architects and the construction industry to design and test new buildings. It enables them to walk through a virtual model in order to evaluate this which saves both time and money.It is very interesting as well.
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